Women’s Day celebration raises awareness in Writing Center

Erica Andrews, Contributing Writer

On International Women’s Day, people all over the world participate in a celebration of women’s rights and women’s economic, political, and social achievements. On March 20, the Writing Center hosted a Day in Celebration of Women.With the help of English teacher Dr. Helen Sachs, five seniors and juniors planned events for each period of the day that aimed to educate the school on women’s issues both here and around the world.   During each class period, student coordinators gave presentations on different aspects

“Organizing it was an absolute pleasure.  The English Department helped a ton with the venue to hold the event at, as well as all the necessary equipment we needed to make the event as coherent and informative as possible. A number of students stepped out and engaged those attending with workshops and presentations of their own, which were all beyond stellar,” said junior Emma Podolsky.

First period, Podolsky gave an interactive presentation about the presence of sexism and gender bias in our society.   The period also featured performances by Ms. Sari Schulman’s theater arts class. Juniors Julia Zeh, Nicole Boyd, Maggie Frankel, and sophomore Nina Grauer performed a scene from Brighton Beach Memoirs, which served as the platform for the period’s discussion of gender norms in society.

Students led other presentations and discussions throughout the day.  During third and sixth periods senior Emily Ryon educated students on the state of women in the world and how even a high school student can help.

“I was thrilled to research the topics in my presentation and to take aspects of what I’d learned in history class and bring it to a larger audience.  It was also really great to take all of the information that I’d learned form helping put this day together and apply it to the real world, like when I went to the Women in the World Summit,” said Ryon.

Afterwards, teachers led a discussion, introducing stimulating questions to the attendees and letting debate ensue.   Students in the audience shared their take on some of the most present issues of feminism in our society.   A major topic was “female guilt,” which is the sense of guilt that women feel towards leaving their children with babysitters or in care services.  Students took positions on whether it was a destructive guilt imposed by societal rules or rather a natural biological feeling caused by motherhood.  Another leading theme was how far we have come since the age of domesticity.

“I was surprised at how many people actually spoke.  It was cool to have everyone honestly share their points of view on such a current subject matter,” said junior Lylia Li.

The Women’s Day celebration was an opportunity to not only draw attention to an inspiring cause, but also allow peer discussion about some of the most pressing issues in our society today.

“This event was important because it showed kids how necessary and relevant feminism is in our day and age, and that it’s so much more than simply gaining equality for women but also shedding light on important issues facing the LGBT community, men’s rights, and human rights in general,” said Podolsky.

Dr.  Sachs stressed the event’s importance.

“I think this event was fueled by the impetus to fight the negative backlash and reveal the original and positive definition of feminism not just for women—but for women, men and children, all people fighting to gain rights,” said Dr. Sachs.  “It is incredibly gratifying to see teenagers feel empowered and want to do something to better the world.”

“It created a structure for students to be able to express themselves, and the tremendous success with no funding sets the expectation that much higher for next year,” said Principal Mr. Ira Pernick.