The ninth annual International Women's Day Festival took an interactive approach to feature people's thoughts and stories about women around the world. 

The Women’s Center hosted the festival Sunday, which included performances highlighting women of different nationalities.

A video booth was stationed in the hallway outside of Baker Ballroom where people could show their support and answer questions about the international women they look up to and about the theme for the event, which was “Making a Difference.”

The idea to record people talking about international women was a joint project from Student Senate and the Women’s Center, Amal Afyouni, the international Affairs Commissioner for Student Senate, said. The answers people gave in the booth were projected on a screen in Baker Ballroom. Afyouni liked the fact people were able to share their answers with other people.

The videos were used to showcase women around the world and to show that the women’s movement is not restricted to the United States, Afyouni, a junior studying political science and sociology and criminology, said.

“As international women, (they) don’t get a lot of attention,” she said. “This is for women everywhere — women around the world.”

In her opening remarks, M. Geneva Murray, the director of the Women’s Center, said supporting international women is not achieved by “just showing up today,” and those women should be recognized every day. By celebrating International Women’s Day — which was recognized everywhere on March 8 — Murray hoped it would ignite “action and passion” to highlight the status of women throughout the world.

The rest of the time was dedicated to performances, demonstrations and speakers that showcased different women and cultures. Vendors from organizations on campus and in Athens were also present at the event.

People of all ages participated in a fashion show that featured attire from Bolivia, India, Nigeria and South Africa. While the models showed off their outfits, a video played behind them explaining the importance of each piece. One young girl modeled a Wonder Woman costume and another dressed as a princess.

There were also many musical performances at the festival, including dance and vocal acts.

A Middle Eastern-inspired belly dancing trio, Sisters of Salaam, wore red and black outfits embroidered with jewels and beads to entertain the crowd.

Jessica Rutkowski, a freshman studying journalism, said her favorite performance was from the all-women a cappella group the Tempo Tantrums. The group harmonized to “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child, a mash-up of “Be My Baby” by Ariana Grande and “Are You That Somebody?” by Aaliyah and “Hate on Me” by Jill Scott.

“I just love the songs they sang and the spirit they brought,” Rutkowski said. “I think they brought a nice pizzaz to the day because they chose all songs about women.”

Rutkowski liked seeing people come together to celebrate International Women’s Day, she said.

“I think it’s really important because a lot of times women of every nationality are overlooked,” she said. “it’s nice to appreciate them.”


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