More than 100 students gathered outside Frist Campus Center March 8 to share their views on women’s issues, feminism, and responses to sexism in recognition of International Women’s Day. Many students wore red, a sign of solidarity with the “Day Without a Woman” campaign.
The students stood in a circle for the lunchtime event; after comments were offered, the circle would snap in support, then wait in silence for the next person to speak.
“It was a really amazing feeling to stand there and watch people as they took the time to think about what they wanted to say,” said Lydia Weintraub ’18, one of the organizers of the event.
The idea for the gathering emerged from a seminar on global feminism, according to Satyel Larson, an assistant professor of Near Eastern studies specializing in women, gender, and sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa. The class explores “the modern history of indigenous feminist movements and how transnational feminist thought and gender discourses circulate in the Middle East and North Africa,” she said.
“I was planning to take the students to the march in NYC,” Larson said. “I encountered a logistical issue and when I told the students, they suggested organizing an event on campus.”
During the event, students spoke in particular about the importance of acting in solidarity with others and of lifting up other women. One student said attention should be paid to how institutional power structures such as racism and classism are embedded in sexism. Another encouraged campus groups to work together for similar causes, citing the Princeton Students for Gender Equality, Men’s Allied Voices for a Respectful & Inclusive Community, and Princeton Students for Reproductive Justice.
The half-hour event included a performance by Umqombothi, an African a cappella group, who sang “Rebel Woman” by the Zimbabwean singer Chiwoniso.