International Women’s Day needs to be recognized by everyone

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On March 8, International Women’s Day is celebrated across the world, and here at NT as well. Every period, Girl Up has worked to bring in female guest speakers ranging from sports journalists to surgeons.

The day is optional. Classes may attend if the teacher decides to, and students may go to the event during a free period or lunch.
This type of education may seem different from a typical science lab or history course. However, discussions about women’s equality and experiences are just as important as the ones we have on a regular school day, and important for people of all genders.

A common idea is that because you are not part of a certain group of people, the issues of that group don’t affect you. This is seen with ignoring immigration stories as discussed in the February 8th issue of the paper. It’s seen with students skipping Seminar Day when we had it two years ago. And it’s seen with students not choosing to attend International Women’s Day seminars in previous years.

One way to get around this is for teachers to take a step up and bring their classes to the presentations. Missing one day of English class isn’t going to affect anyone in the long run. But a young person may see a woman as an entrepreneur at the presentation, and see that she too can start her own business.

For people who don’t identify as female, the seminars can provide powerful insight on what it’s like to be a woman in certain careers. The stigma, stereotypes, and hardships faced by women can be eye-opening to others, and perhaps create a sort of empathy. At the very least, awareness will be spread.

The seminars appear to be centered around two intersecting topics: activism for women’s rights, and the underrepresentation of women in certain fields.

Both of these topics affect more than just women, however. The obvious connection comes from the community perspective: everyone cares about and loves at least one women in their life, whether it be a mother, sister, or friend. Therefore, the issues that affect these women we care about are in part our issues as well.

The importance of more than just women going to these seminars extends beyond this, however. Eventually, when we all become real adults, we’re going to have to learn to coexist with various types of people in the workplace. Understanding the difficulties that different groups of people face can help us work past our differences and collaborate for the greater good.

If all of us had a better understanding of what discrimination felt like, whether it be age, gender, race, or sexuality, we can learn how to better support those in our lives. We’re all humans, so we should all learn to understand other humans. It’s just common sense.

Learning these skills should be given priority in schools. We talk a lot about “Social-Emotional Learning” in school, but rarely ever find ourselves actually learning. This is one of the cases in which we have the opportunity to learn.

So please, no matter who you are, no matter how busy you are, take advantage of this opportunity and head up to McGee Auditorium for International Women’s Seminar Day today.

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