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Balance for Better: International Women's Day 2019

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Yvonn Yu
Communications Assistant
Fri, 03/08/2019 - 09:45

Happy International Women’s Day [external link], Warriors! Today, we celebrate the accomplishments of all women and those who identify as women, as well acknowledge the challenges that women continue to face around the world.

This year's theme for International Women's Day is #BalanceforBetter [external link], which calls for gender balance across the world.

The International Women's Day website states:

"Right now is a great and important time in history to do everything possible to help forge a more gender-balanced world. Women have come a long way, yet there's still more to be achieved. From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence."

The Women's Centre held events throughout the week to mark International Women's Week, from discussions on sex ed and body politics to showcasing women in art and bust casting.

While the University of Waterloo supports the HeforShe [external link] initiative, the United Nations global solidarity movement for gender equality, Women's Centre service coordinator Vivien Pham noted that  there are still many things that can be improved for women on campus.

One setback that happened recently is the elimination of menstrual products from female washrooms, making [the Women's Centre] one of the only known places to pick up free pads or tampons,” Pham said. “On the bright side, we are working with the Equity Office to reinstall these products in washrooms now.”

Pham also mentioned that even though that UWaterloo’s STEM programs accept many women, the rate of retention for female students is very low, and many women switch out of their program because of the uncomfortable academic environment.

For women and those who identify as women, the Women's Centre provides a place to find support on campus.

“Being surrounded with and collaborating with intelligent, friendly individuals who share similar values is not something we are always able to do in our lives,” said Pham. “We are so grateful for this community [at the Women's Centre] so we can have a safe space for barrier-breaking conversations to exist.”

Pham encourages students to support clubs, services, and organizations that empower women, even if it is as simple as reading posts on their social media or attending events that they host.

To celebrate International Women's Day, the Women’s Centre is holding its popular Bust Casting event tonight at 6 p.m.,  as well as releasing its annual publication, Voices, which features the artistic expression of the experiences of Waterloo students.

Students looking for further involvement can apply to be an executive for the Women’s Centre for spring 2019 on Leads.