Women’s Day seminars explore facets of feminism

Women’s Day moves ahead despite planning challenges


Allyson Haut of the League of Women Voters discusses the ERA | Guthrie

Girl Up and UNICEF hosted International Women’s Day seminars on Mar. 8 with various speakers throughout the day and invited students to come during free periods and teachers to bring their classes.

“The purpose of the day was not only to learn what it means to be empowered, but to celebrate the empowerment of the women who are speaking and build off that energy and work towards a society where women are celebrated and treated equally,” said Senior and UNICEF representative for the event Molly Gallagher

Co-head of Girl Up, Samantha Scheinfeld, said that each seminar is very different, and a very wide array of ideas are presented.

“I think it’s important for every New Trier student to be exposed to the many different facets of feminism,” said Scheinfeld.

Initially, there was a chance that the seminars would be cancelled.

“The administration was afraid that there wouldn’t be a diverse body of voices. So we either had to cancel the seminars or push them back until the administration approved all of the speakers,” said Gallagher. “Since we had such a dedicated group of girls and teachers working together on planning the seminars, we were able to mobilize and get all of our speakers approved.”

The administration wanted to ensure that students would have a choice in attending the seminars if their teachers decided to take them as a class.

“We’re not opposed to the day at all. We just need to make sure that the way students access it is not required. We needed to communicate with the teachers that kids have an option to attend together or maybe have an alternate assignment,” said Principal Denise Dubravec

Speakers included various teachers, parents and coaches, who spoke about different focuses of female empowerment in various fields.

“It’s important for students to attend a day like this because it gives students information. It’s not about pushing an agenda, it’s about keeping people informed on the different ways they can empower themselves and empower women,” said Scheinfeld.

The speakers gave talks on  intersectional feminism, the ERA, and what it means to be a female leader.

“All of the speakers have something different to bring,” said Gallagher.

“I went during eighth period and the speaker focused on women in art history,” said Junior Sarah Ann Duck. “I really liked it and thought it was interesting how she incorporated some of the AP Art History curriculum into her presentation.”

Other speakers included Strength and Conditioning coach Jim Davis, who talked about women empowerment in sports, and Cook County Board candidate Bushra Amiwala, who talked about women and youth in politics.

All the speakers were organized by Girl Up and UNICEF.

“I brought two speakers for periods three and four and worked with them to coordinate showing up and working, getting them approved with the school, and negotiating the logistics, like what supplies they would need,” said Gallagher. “There are a lot of logistics that go into it and we needed a large team to make sure that it would go off smoothly.”

The organizers reported most sessions were at capacity.

“This year, we had about a hundred students at each seminar. I hope in the future we have hundreds of students at each seminar, because I think everyone should be exposed to the issues our speakers present. I think it’s important to continue to value and support women through this seminar day for years to come,” said Scheinfeld.

“My session was really full. It must’ve had five or six classes in it. But I wish more teachers could have brought their classes because I was only able to go to one seminar,” said Duck.

In terms of the future, Gallagher  hopes that her two years have set a precedent that can continue and become an annual tradition. Gallagher said, “I personally think it’s super awesome. More information is always better and more opportunities to celebrate female empowerment is always welcome in my book.”