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Inspiring change one woman at a time

International Women's Day was celebrated on March 8. Ohio Northern University's Office of Multicultural Development held its March Cultural Conversation on March 21 to discuss the issue on women's rights. (photo/newsroom.fb.com)

International Women's Day was celebrated on March 8. Ohio Northern University's Office of Multicultural Development held its March Cultural Conversation on March 21 to discuss the issue on women's rights. (photo/newsroom.fb.com)

The national campaign for the 2017 International Women’s Day, held on March 8, asked: “Will you #BeBoldForChange?” The day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political contributions of women. For centuries, influential women have inspired new generations to take action and change the world.

Women can be adventurers, scientists, writers, and leaders.

Starting on Feb. 28, 1908, International Women’s Day has helped inspired change concerning women’s rights. This includes the passing of the 19th amendment, allowing women to vote, and a push toward women entering the workforce.

However, are things perfect? Are men and women treated equal? There have been monumental milestones for women throughout the past 100 years, but there’s still a long way to go. That was the topic of Ohio Northern University’s Office of Multicultural Development’s March Cultural Conversation Hour on March 21. Students, faculty and staff discussed the importance of community conversations concerning women’s rights.

By 2000, people thought women had achieved everything and women’s rights dissipated,” said Office of Multicultural Development Director LaShonda Gurley.

Gurley asked students if they had heard of International Women’s Day prior to 2017. Only a handful of students raised their hands. New to the day of celebration this year, many women participated in A Day Without a Woman, in which women and allies bonded together for equity and justice for women through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity.

The idea was for people to imagine what life would be like without women. Would the household chores be completed? Would businesses hurt? Would people miss women? Would there be an absence?

There are ten values of International Women’s Day: Justice, dignity, hope, equality, collaboration, tenacity, appreciation, respect, empathy, and forgiveness.

Gurley asked students if they believe there are positive moves toward equality, and many students shook their heads. She asked what ONU can do to improve equality on campus. Students suggested discussions, more blending of the two genders on campus, and many more ideas for combining men and women together to contribute to a successful project.

Think globally, act locally,” Gurley reminded the participants.

Think about the troubling issues across the globe, but then begin in the Ada community. Start with one person, one idea and action—and this will spread to more people and influence change. It won’t happen overnight, but equality is possible, if we believe in the power to inspire change.