Canisius College faculty and students celebrated International Women’s Day with people from across the globe on Wednesday, March 8. This day commemorates the progression of women’s rights and honors the strength and perseverance of the gender’s quest for equality.
Tanya Loughead, a professor of Philosophy, participated in International Women’s Day by partaking in the Day without Women strike. In an interview with WKBW, Loughead said that at least 10 other Canisius faculty members were going to participate in the strike.
The strike itself has been wildly controversial, with many calling it an expression of white privilege. Since many women of color, immigrant women, and otherwise oppressed or impoverished women are unable to take off of work for the threat of being fired or simply the inability to afford to not work.
Feminism, at its origins, has been connected to racial equality and integration, with many of the founding feminists of the first wave also being supporters of the civil rights movement. Critics of the strike have raised important, ethical concerns about the importance of intersectional feminism.
Those partaking in the strike cite many reasons for their participation. Despite the suggested ethical concerns, the importance of showing resistance to a system that has oppressed women for generations is significant enough to compel many to act.
“I can’t believe I’m still protesting this, but wage gaps still exist. There are still differences in the amount of women in power and government. We still haven’t had a woman president. Sexual assault, rape culture, and the fact that gender stereotypes still structure how people envision who they are,” Loughead said in the interview.
She later went on to express the election of President Donald J. Trump as an indicator of the state of inequality between the genders.
In a response to the strike, Canisius commented the following:
“Canisius College is disappointed that any faculty member would choose to put their own interests ahead of those of our students whose education is the only reason for which we exist.”
We know what you’re expecting: for the mostly liberal and female staff at The Griffin to condemn the College’s statement and criticize administration for their insensitivity about the reasons that Loughead and other professors are protesting.
But, to be honest, we’re tired of doing that. Of course, the College has every right to promote their faculty actually attending class and teaching their students. Alas, the College is again conflicted.
So, instead of writing an opposition post about the College’s statement, we’d like to congratulate the incredible group of faculty who choose to live the Jesuit mission and stand up for women everywhere. We would also like to honor the many ways that the College did celebrate International Women’s Day; while your mistakes will always be criticized, your moments of progression and justice will not be ignored.
Some students honored the influential women in their lives by writing inspirational quotations about womanhood on white boards in the library, receiving a rose for partaking. Participants had their photos taken and the College posted them on social media, many writing the quotation, “Here’s to the strong women: may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”
Other students attended the speaker put on by the Women and Gender Studies Program with the Canisius College ALB Library and Archives & Special Collections. Jennifer Kaiser, founder of the Restoration HEM Project, spoke at 6:00p.m. in the Grupp Fireside Lounge. This project is impacting the Buffalo community, providing disadvantaged girls with sustainable feminine hygiene solutions.
The College made comments regarding International Women’s Day. They released the following statement on the school’s Facebook page: “On International Women’s Day, we recognize and honor the incredible women in our community: faculty, staff, alumni, and of course, 54% of our student body.” The post attached a September 1961 article from The Griffin, which highlighted the day that Canisius admitted its first full-time women students. Many more just wore red, a silent and symbolic stance for solidarity with the strikers.
The Griffin’s staff agrees that no matter how you celebrate, acknowledging the importance of the day and the efforts of those participating is an essential step forward in the fight for gender equality. To the faculty strikers, we support you. To minority women who are concerned with conventional strikes and protest methods, we’re listening to you. To women everywhere, we stand by you.