Phenomenal Women: Why the Red and Purple?


Traveling to class on Wednesday, March 8, you may have noticed an unnatural number of people wearing red or purple clothes. Then, if you were walking between Young and Crounse around 11:20 a.m., you may have noticed a large gathering of students and teachers.

These were just two ways that Centre’s community celebrated International Women’s Day. Referring to the gathering between Young and Crounse, professor of psychology Dr. Jan Wertz explains how after arriving to campus that morning, “I remembered it was International Women’s Day, so I felt like we should do something. So I found a poem and we held a reading.”

International Women’s Day has been celebrated since the early 1900s when the Socialist Party of America declared February 28, 1909 as the first National Woman’s Day. In 1975, the United Nations celebrated International Women’s Day for the first time and the General Assembly proclaimed that a day for women’s rights was to be annually celebrated by United Nations members.

“For me, International Women’s Day has always served as a day to recognize the powerful, brave, and intelligent women that have directly and indirectly impacted my life,” sophomore Annie Trentham said. “I attended the gathering on campus where a Maya Angelou poem was read. I stood among some of the strongest and most admirable women and men that I have the privilege to say that I know,” she added.

Around the world, International Women’s Day was celebrated at individual and national levels. Many women workers went on strike during the work day and marches were seen in many countries. Some countries, like Italy, highlighted women’s success by showcasing art in museums and cultural sites around the country. Other countries used the day to ask for governmental change and representation.

This year, March 8 was also being celebrated as A Day Without A Woman, to continue the solidarity that women around the world felt during the Women’s March on January 21. Women were called to stay home from work, refrain from shopping, and wear red (or purple) to show their support.

First year Emily Shields, like many people, saw the day as another opportunity to continue the ongoing fights for awareness and equality. “I have tried to be an active participant in the dialogues surrounding women’s issues, and that has led me to protests, community organizations, fundraisers, and the Women’s March in DC,” Shields said. She finds International Women’s Day incredibly important because it brings to light the hardships women have had to endure throughout history, as well as all of the amazing things they have achieved. “Women are pretty awesome, and I think it’s vital that we support and love each other. I appreciate every woman and man that took time to celebrate International Women’s Day!” she said.

No matter how you celebrated or supported International Women’s Day, it is important to remember that while this day calls for a celebration of women, it is overall a day to call for equality for all members of society.

“’Cause I’m a woman/ Phenomenally./ Phenomenal woman,/ That’s me.” — Maya Angelou


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