Raili Burton

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — As International Women’s Day approaches, many organizations across the country, including those in the Carolinas, are preparing events to celebrate this week.

For example, the Charlotte International Women’s Day committee will be host its annual event on Sunday, March 8, at the International House from 4-6:30 p.m.

The theme for this year’s event is “each for equal,” which is intended to empower and recognize women in business and as entrepreneurs.

Other groups have similar events planned, including a seminar hosted by EmpowHERment, a Charlotte non-profit, March 5 and a forum hosted by Goldspeak Seminars, in Columbia, March 7.

At Winthrop University, there are no events planned, however, Dr. Jennifer Leigh Disney, director of the university’s Women’s and Gender Studies program, said there should be many days to celebrate women.

“To me, March 8, International Women’s Day is a way to recognize the work and the value of women in an international context, from an intersectional perspective,” said Disney. “Women deserve to be celebrated, because of the roles we play in productive and reproductive labor in an international context.”

Ashleigh Scipio — vice president of the Winthrop student organization LADIES, a group that provides a safe and empowering space for women on campus — said women are the driving force of life.

Jennifer Disney
Dr. Jennifer Leigh Disney, director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program at Winthrop, said she hopes to plan an event to celebrate International Women’s Day in the future (photo: Raili Burton).

“Celebrating how women as a whole have evolved from fighting, to just be able to vote and work any job we want, to today’s modern woman who can work where she wants and vote in any election she chooses,” said Scipio.

International Women’s Day dates back to 1909 when the Socialist Party of America honored the roughly 15,000 women of New York City who protested poor working conditions and the lack of voting rights the year before.

Over the years, countries around the world have dedicated Women’s Day to be on or around March 8. In 1975, the United Nations celebrated International Women’s Day for the first time.

“It was started by socialists and people fighting for greater equality at the intersection of gender and class on an international basis,” said Disney.

She said events like this are significant for women who perform jobs in and outside of the home.

“Women have historically carried a heavier burden for what feminists have called the reproductive labor of home and family, that was often the unpaid labor of cooking and cleaning and child-bearing, family farming in the developing context,” Disney said.

While there currently isn’t a Women’s Day event on the Winthrop campus, Disney said she hopes to plan one in the future.