On Wednesday Mar. 8, otherwise known as International Women’s Day, New Trier hosted a group of influential speakers who gave seminars throughout the day.
The goal of these seminars was to allow students to hear from a variety of inspirational speakers and learn from gender-based work.
Some of these speakers included the superintendent Dr. Linda Yonke, who spoke about working in a predominantly male field, Kim Holstein, who discussed female empowerment through entrepreneurship, Jim Davis, an athletic coach from New Trier, who spoke about gender equality in athletics, and many others.
This day was hosted by several clubs, namely Amnesty International, Fem Club, Girls’ Club, Girl Up, SWEETS, and UNICEF Club.
Senior Celia Buckman, co-head of Girl UP and UNICEF Club, was a key player in putting the day together.
On International Women’s Day last year, Buckman had the idea to host these seminars and has been working ever since to make it a reality. “I think it’s really important to appreciate, celebrate, and recognize the women that shape our communities and our lives.”
The overall mission of this day, according to Buckman, was to showcase the diversity and applicability of gender to a large span of issues.
The day included unique speakers including Kim Holstein, CEO and Chief Chocolate Officer of The Crave Bar and board member of Jewish Women International.
At this seminar, one point that Holstein wanted to get across was the power that entrepreneurship has to transform women’s lives, be a vehicle for helping women use their voices, and help women feel empowered while paving the path for their future.
Something that Holstein was excited to incorporate into her seminar was education of global issues.
She elaborated on the purpose of this and said, “I think it’s important for students to understand how people in our community might feel, but also look at it from a global level.”
Since this was the first year that New Trier brought this vision to life, it is even more impressive that the day received overwhelmingly positive reactions. Most students believed that this day was beneficial for a wide variety of reasons, one being a valuable opportunity to hear a new perspective.
Senior Cormac Simon, who attended Holstein and Yonke’s seminars, stated, “I think it can open you up to new perspectives and broaden your mind. Especially as a guy, I think those struggles that the speakers dealt with are not things I would have guessed or seen for a woman, so I’m glad that people had that forum to share that openly.”
Sophomore Christopher Robert Kuhn also felt that he gained a new perspective on issue. He attended the talk by Dilnaz Waraiach, a Muslim women who overcame barriers by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
“I thought it was interesting as a male to see what females have to go through in regards to diversity. It’s really an incredible story and inspiring to see how she overcame all these difficulties in the 21st century,” Kuhn said.
Sophomore Emma Katzman also appreciated the fact that Waraiach added a layer of diversity to the seminars.
“Everyone at New Trier basically fits in with the majority, but she is Muslim and she has a completely different experience than most of what we have,” Katzman said.
However, Katzman, along with others, did feel that something the seminars were lacking was more relevance to women’s issues.
“I think it was beneficial, but I don’t think there was enough emphasis on the fact that women and men aren’t equal,” Katzman said.
Junior Maya Malecki enjoyed Waraiach’s seminar but wasn’t sure “how fitting it was for Women’s Day.”
Despite this, the Scrounge was packed full with students, the day sparked talk throughout the school, and teachers used the seminars as a way to continue the conversation of women’s issues.
Junior Kelly Olvany saw this day as a success, and said, “Women should always be celebrated. This day did just that.”