Ready in Red: The Women’s International Day Demonstration

Mia Mikki, Reporter

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On March 8, 2017 Columbia Secondary School (CSS) participated in their first Women’s International Day demonstration. To show their support for women’s rights, students and faculty dressed in red, a color chosen by the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington to represent “revolutionary love and sacrifice.”

The demonstration boasted an overwhelming show of solidarity, with both women and men dressed in red. Nine out of ten randomly chosen students from the third floor hallway answered that they had dressed down for the demonstration.

When asked about why she chose to join the rally, Medina Garunja, sophomore, replied, “Showing support for women is very important, we need to stand together … empowerment, you know.”

Others joined for similar reasons. Roselis Emiliano, freshman, said a public form of support for women was always something she wanted to do.

“Even though women should be represented throughout the year,” said Emiliano. “The month that we get specifically just for us is important so I felt that I needed to be representative of who I am.”

The male population at CSS seemed to carry similar views as the females.

Kwadwo Taah, freshman, joined the demonstration because he believed women deserved the same rights as men.

“If Women’s International Day is to represent our appreciation for women,” said Taah. “I feel strongly that I should wear red.”

Another student, who wished to remain anonymous, explained that they did not dress in red.

“It’s not that I don’t support women’s rights, but the announcement came kind of abruptly and I forgot that there was a dress down day.”

After being asked if they thought women’s rights are underrepresented in society, many students and faculty agreed that they were.

”There’s a few issues” replied Professor Fremd. “Women don’t get paid the equal pay for an equal amount of work. Women are not equally represented in government. Out of the 100 senators I think only less than 30 are women, so that’s less than half. When it comes to business, in the highest positions of office, like CEOs, females are completely underrepresented. I mean the list goes on really, the things that women face in a male dominated society, you know, impacts every facet of their life.”

Dean Purtitz responded with parallel views.

“I think it’s taken a long time” said Puritz. “A couple of thousand years to get to this point. I think that we have subjugated women for a long time for whatever reasons, I think maybe men realized that women really have the power and were afraid so they kept them down. But I think that women should be definitely be more represented in government and in running our nation and in making decisions for our nation.”

The organizers of the women’s march on Washington strongly encouraged women to stay at home from work and refrain from purchasing anything to simulate a world without women. Most of the CSS faculty did not partake in that part of the protest, but other women outside of CSS did.

“My aunt in New Jersey decided to skip work and she had a meeting with her faculty to make posters about women’s rights,” said Taah. “After the meeting she went and hung up the posters everywhere.”

Despite a near consensus on the reasons for why individuals joined the demonstration, there were mixed opinions on the effectiveness of the rally.

”There could have been a lot more that they could have done,”said Emiliano. “But for a start it was definitely a good exercise.”

“It definitely showed more support,” replied Garunja. “I think, because we seemed together, with the guys too.”

Fremd, however voiced his doubts on any major changes in mindset.

“That’s not to say that the event is bad and it’s not to say that we shouldn’t do it” said Fremd. “It’s just that it’s a really big issue and you know you’re not going to fix it in one day wearing red. But its a nice thing to do, I dont think its bad.”

Even with the differing opinions on its active effects, all who were interviewed insisted they would definitely participate in the rally again next year.

“Absolutely” said Garunja. “It’s really great to see so much support for such an important topic, I would love to participate in it again.”

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