With the month of March comes International Women’s Month, and this year OU has decided to host a COVID-friendly celebration via Instagram and Twitter.

On March 8, International Women’s Day will be accompanied by a social media campaign hosted by the Black Student Cultural Programming Board, Center for International Studies, Department of History, International Student and Faculty Services, Multicultural Center and the Women's Center. Together, the organizations put together a day full of virtual participation for Athens.

This year, the campaign will cover how one can visibly commit to challenging instances of oppression and bias that women are still faced with today. Using Ohio University’s local hashtag, #OhioUInternationalWomensDay, or the international hashtags, #ChooseToChallenge and #IWD2021, one can post or view posts on social media that are directly geared towards women empowerment.

What: Social Media Campaign: International Women’s Day

Where: Instagram and Twitter

When: Monday, March 8 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission: Free

“We actually have a really robust website that we just released and developed in which we walk through the different ways in which people can participate,” Geneva Murray, director of the Women’s Center, said. “We're really following the International Women's Day 2021 theme because this is a global movement. That theme is ‘Choose to challenge,’ and so they have really asked us to step up collectively to think about what it is that we can do to interrupt bias, but then also we've provided additional ways in which people could engage through their online platforms.”

The engagement can be done by seeing what other women are doing to make an impact globally or locally. International Women’s Day is a chance to see how women’s voices have been amplified or minimized, not only because of sex but because of race, ethnicity, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism and more. This way, participants can choose how they want to challenge bias and uplift other women’s voices.

The purpose of this day is to not only start a conversation for one day but also to start a conversation about the everyday challenges women face. 

The advantage of the event being online is it allows participants to be involved in the comforts of their own home –– it’s an opportunity to take a chance and try something new. Participation can be simple –– people can really regulate how much they participate. This provides comfort and less hesitation for people to take the step in the direction of empowerment.

“It’s joining the hashtag, joining a thread, responding and also keeping in mind that you have an opportunity to also highlight yourself,” Winsome Chunnu-Brayda, director of the Multicultural Center, said. “So if you do not have the time to do research on a particular woman, serving women or challenges that women are facing –– you can highlight yourself and your accomplishments…and oftentimes people tend to be shy when it comes to talking about their own accomplishments, but if you're putting it on paper, if you're sending a tweet, sometimes that can be easier than actually verbalizing it.”

Chunnu-Brayda feels empowering other women includes empowering oneself. OU students have expressed that they are grateful OU offers an opportunity for women on campus and beyond to be appreciated.

“I feel very accepted on this campus,” Katie Wilson, a freshman studying psychology, said.  “There's a lot of places for me to go –– I know there's a lot of women's organizations. Being a part of Greek life, which is a strong group of women, they really emphasize that OU really supports all of that. I think it's really cool that the university is doing something for International Women's Day.” 

Following the campaign, at 6 p.m. on Monday, graduate students at OU that have done extensive research on Mexican feminists are giving a speech about Mexican women and the social impact and social justice impacts that they've been having within their local areas. 

Murray and Chunnu-Brayda encourage anyone and everyone to try out the events taking place on International Women’s Day and let it be the first step to starting their own conversation.

@kkayyben

kb084519@ohio.edu