Courtesy of Shura D. Gat

Students and faculty alike gathered to discuss feminism at a luncheon honoring International Women's Day.

March 13, 2018

Students and Faculty Celebrate International Women’s Day with ‘Empowering’ Luncheon

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In the spirit of celebration and global allyship, the Women’s Resource Center hosted an International Women’s Day luncheon on Saturday to promote conversation about international feminism and honor individuals for their work.

Elise Czuchna ’18, who spearheaded the event’s logistics, said that the idea of international feminism is not something people encounter as often as they should.

“International feminism must recognize the cultural differences and variations in lived experiences in order to inform advocacy abroad, ultimately seeking to empower women enough to speak for themselves,” Czuchna said.

Czuchna highlighted inclusion in her remarks, describing international feminism as a “movement to support and empower women-identifying individuals around the world.”

This definition informed her decision to make it the central theme of the luncheon, which was “Global Feminism: The Place of Allyship Within the Movement and the Importance of Cultural Relativity.”

“Hopefully this event sparks dialogue around international feminism and global allyship in the feminist movement,” Czuchna said.

“Hopefully people start talking about it and maybe more organizations will begin to incorporate these discussions of global feminism into the work that they do.”

During the event, the organizers facilitated round-table discussions in which attendees learned about the importance of intersectional feminism in a variety of sectors, including education, health, politics, transportation and cultural differences.

Some of the questions asked during these discussions included “How do you see the ideas of global feminism and cultural relativity being important on our own campus?” and “What are the barriers that we may encounter in a global feminist movement?”

Emily MacArthur grad praised the event for fostering dialogue.

“I felt really strongly [that] this event brought to my attention many different groups that are working and really highlighted in our conversations how those groups can work together and where the intersections are,” she said.

As part of the luncheon, 14 women, a mix of students and faculty, were nominated to receive an International Women’s Day leadership award. The award celebrates people who “provide an inspiring example of a powerful and influential individual serving the Cornell community of women on campus,” Czuchna said in her opening remarks.

Julissa Andrade ’18 received the award for her work on issues regarding the global control of women’s bodies and labor.

“It’s through the collective support of the people I know and the input, and them always challenging me is what has led me to do any meaningful work or any work that I really feel proud of,” she said.

Afterwards, Andrade reflected on the significance of the event.

“It feels empowering … to be recognized for the work that I do and it was really inspiring to see the other work that’s being done on campus,” she said. “It was nice to see people who are involved in [other organizations] doing really good work as well.”