International Women’s Day is often filled with global discussions on gender equality, domestic violence and various other women’s rights issues.
In Thailand, women will march in traditional pregnancy clothes to bring attention to maternity issues. In Albania, red shoes are often laid across the stairs of governmental buildings to commemorate the victims of domestic violence. In South Korea, there are marches to call attention to equal treatment in the workplace for women, particularly in male-dominated fields.
Each year, demonstrations and celebrations are held around the globe, often coinciding with a theme for the year, decided by the United Nations.
2022’s theme is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow: recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all.”
The U.N. will be celebrating this theme via a virtual conference featuring high-ranking officials within the U.N. and in women’s studies.
While International Women’s Day is traditionally confined to March 8, it is part of the larger Women’s History Month (WHM) that spans all of March.
Junior history major Elise Wixtrom sees WHM as a time to broaden the scope of knowledge in history.
Along with sophomore Sarah Campbell, Wixtrom hosts “Live from the Past,” a radio show on WTUR where they explore a variety of historical topics and figures.
“If you've been in school and you've been reading history you're getting only half of the story most of the time,” said Campbell.
“A whole segment of the population is being ignored if you don't talk at least a little about it," Wixtrom continued, "And Women's History Month is a way to rectify that disparity in historical analysis.”
Campbell, as Taylor’s only women’s history major, makes the role of women a prominent part of the show. During March, all of the show’s subjects and guests will directly elevate women from the past. Their show airs on Thursdays at 4 p.m., and is also on Spotify. Additionally, Campbell runs their Instagram, @livefromthepast, with historical information related to what they discuss.
“We want to highlight the importance of women In history while also talking about the context and why the context is important to us,” Wixtrom said. “So we can assemble that into a good spread of topics that are going to appeal to a lot of people.”
In addition to their own show, Campbell is developing materials for the History, Global and Political Studies Instagram, @tu_hgps. The account will feature interactive material including videos and features on historical female figures throughout all of WHM.
Wixtrom encourages people who are interested in learning more to take on what makes sense for them, especially with so many different types of free resources available.
“If you're scared to get into big history books, don't be afraid to look up less scholarly ones,” Wixtrom said. “If you're not going to go into history as a discipline, there's no shame in reading a book about a woman that’s just 200 pages.”
Additionally, Campbell encourages students to talk to their local history major, and even join her in the women’s study classes if they want to dig in deeper. Wixtrom said all of the history professors at Taylor are mindful of women’s issues in their classes, even if they aren’t teaching strictly women’s history, so there is always something to learn in the department.
“When you have had no dynamics of power in the past, you know it's a patriarchal society,” said Campbell. “History cannot reflect inclusion until the world in flux reflects inclusion. Until then, we have to make a specific effort to study women's history to have that equal inclusion until it's actually reflected in life; until women’s history is just history.”