International Women’s Day was on Monday, Mar. 8, but it is not surprising that it almost went unnoticed. Although most university-associated social media platforms posted in support of this day, there was not a lot of discussion about it on campus.
Fortunately, there are a few virtual events being hosted throughout the next few weeks for those who want to continue to celebrate this month. The University’s public Instagram account encouraged its followers to explore the @NovaWomenLead Instagram, which is run by the McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership, in support of this day and month. This organization posted several stories on Monday highlighting all of the posts from different Villanova clubs and organizations that were promoting this day.
Women’s Day may have been recognized through social media, but is posting enough? When several female Villanova students were asked what the history of women means to them and the way they felt about how the University has been celebrating this month, the responses were all fairly similar.
“In light of the recent assaults, I wish that Villanova put more of an emphasis on Women’s Day in order to show that they value the women in our community,” one female freshman said.
This desire for recognition and support from our community was not an isolated feeling.
Another undergraduate female student explained that she felt as if the University administration, “did not recognize what had just occurred in our community,” and that the use of “non-consensual sexual assault” in the emails was frankly offensive.
These two young women were in agreement that it does not feel like the University did a lot for this national day of celebrating women, but “it would have been nice to get some more recognition from the school.”
A third undergraduate proposed a solution to this feeling of lacking appreciation and recognition. She wondered if there was a possibility that the University’s administration could “potentially host panels about life as a woman in the business world,” or the experiences of other survivors of sexual assault who have learned to cope with this trauma and move forward with their lives.
It should be recognized that during this past week, there were a handful of Zoom-based events that were focused on the discussion of women and their role on our campus and the world. This past week, the University’s organization POWER and the McNulty Institute organized an event called “Let Her Speak,” with this week’s topic specifically focused on the mental health of female students. The main goal of the McNulty Institute for Women’s Leadership is “fostering women’s advancement through education, advocacy, community building and the collaborative creation of knowledge.
Additionally, focusing on the meaning of women’s history, one female student expressed that she believes learning about the history of women is “empowering.” She went on to say that she was lucky enough to have “discussed the importance of women’s history in class” this past Monday. She agreed that it would be a nice sign of support for our community to potentially host more events focused on the empowerment of our female students, but she pointed out that at least there was some light discussion on social media and in certain classrooms.
The promotion of respecting women and female independence is especially crucial right now amid the injustices that have been surfacing on our campus. In order for the University administration to make the female members of its student body feel appreciated, the recognition of Women’s History Month is vital.