March 8, 2023

UCalgary celebrates women’s accomplishments and the challenges they face

University marks Women’s Week March 6-10, and International Women’s Day March 8
International Women’s Day

The themes for this year’s International Women's Day (IWD) are Every Woman Counts and #EmbraceEquityrecognizing and celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, girls, two-spirit, trans and nonbinary people. The themes reflect the importance of the commitments of "nothing about us without us" and highlight the equity approach that is needed to address barriers and challenges that impact women, girls, two-spirit, nonbinary and trans women, through an intersectional lens.

“For the past 125 years local and global communities have marked IWD by recognizing the economic, social, political, and cultural contributions of diverse women, says Dr. Malinda Smith, vice-provost and associate vice-president research (equity, diversity and inclusion). “On this IWD we also want to focus on the ongoing challenge to combat gender inequities and achieve gender justice, recognizing the recent UN report that indicates it will take 300 years to achieve gender equity worldwide.”

Mitigating caste-based discrimination, gender and intersectionality

One topic of this year’s IWD and Women’s Week is drawing attention toward officially making caste — a millennia-old system of stratification, division of labour and discrimination — a protected category. The conversation has yet to begin at educational institutions across Canada, though efforts are well underway in post-secondary institutions throughout the U.S. The University of Alberta and UCalgary are collaborating with international activists and scholars on a series of conversations to raise awareness about caste-based discrimination. UCalgary will be hosting two panels on the subject of caste, one on IWD and one on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21.

“At the University of Calgary we celebrate the achievements of the women students, staffs, postdoctoral fellows and women in leadership. While embracing equity, we also want to stress that every woman counts, and there is much work to be done to advance pay parity, access to daycare and to achieve gender diversity, and combat trans violence and caste-based discrimination. For us, intersections of gender, race, class, sexual orientation and disability matters to gender justice,” Smith says.

To mark IWD and Women’s Week, UCalgary invites everyone to take part in a number of panels and presentations featuring inspiring stories with the aim of creating a positive change in gender equity in the university and broader society. 

Learn and celebrate with us

Check out some of the events below supporting Women’s Week and International Women’s Day, including two panels on the emerging issue of caste.

Panel I: Dalit-Bahujan Feminist Knowledges and Praxis

Online | Registration required | Open to students, faculty and staff
International Women’s Day

Date and time: March 8, 12 – 1:30 p.m.

There is no better place to start this engagement than with the profound body of knowledge called Dalit-Bahujan feminist knowledges. Come and learn about this millennia-old system of dehumanization and division of labour and how Dalit-Bahujan women and nonbinary peoples are particularly affected by it, and how they have been organizing to effect change across educational, cultural, labour, land and other institutions, one step and space at a time.

Panel II: The Problem of Caste in the North American University

Online | Registration required | Open to students, faculty and staff
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Date and time: March 21, 12 – 1:30 p.m.

The panellists will consider the challenge faced by Dalit-Bahujan students and staff in universities and other spaces. We will be joined by four Dalit-Bahujan leaders who have been instrumental in the struggle to make caste legible and a protected category in North American universities and other institutional contexts. Come and learn from their research and experiences about how caste-based discrimination and violence manifest in North American post-secondaries. They will offer insights into how caste operates in everyday environments, how they organize for social and institutional change, and what you can do to effect change.

Other Women’s Week activities include these events:

International Women’s Day Trivia and Discussion Night

In person | Registration required | Open to the public
Date and time: March 8, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
Location: Women’s Resource Centre, MSC 482

Join the UCalgary Amnesty International Club and the Women’s Resource Centre for an evening of trivia and discussion in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Our Story Our Voice: Today’s Inspiring Women

Online | Registration required | Open to students, faculty and staff
Date and time: March 9, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.

“Embracing who we are and embracing equity has to be through our voices as women. When we look in the mirror, we need to inspire first ourselves, then other people.” That’s the message of this presentation led by Dr. Linda Kongnetiman-Pansa, MSW’00, PhD’18, The City of Calgary’s Anti-Racism Program manager. This presentation will open conversation for women to rethink how to inspire themselves through a revolutionary lens.

Conversations: Women in Leadership

In person | Registration required | Open to students
Date and time: March 9, 12 – 1:30 p.m.
Location: Life Design Hub, MacEwan Student Centre Room 171 (former Hunter Hub location)

This panel gathers inspiring women leaders from various industries to share their success stories and examine the need for and impact of female leadership. In addition to hearing their advice for aspiring leaders, there will also be an open and honest discussion around topics like work/life balance, sexism, imposter syndrome, resiliency, failures and more.

Women in Medicine Panel

In person | Registration required | Open to the public
Date and time: March 10, 10 -11:30 a.m.
Location: Life Design Hub, MSC 171

The Libin Women’s Cardiovascular Health Initiative and Women’s Resource Centre will host a Women in Medicine panel featuring Dr. Shannon Ruzycki, BSc’09, MD; Dr. Fiona Mattatall, BSc’94, MSc’97, MD; and Dr. Nathalie Saad, MD’07, MSc’17. The panellists will present their academic and clinical focus while discussing the unique experiences they faced on the path toward equity in medicine.

About Mitigating Caste-Based Discrimination Initiative 

Recognizing the continuing harms of caste-based discrimination, including maintaining a form of social and intergenerational structural inequality, and the need to promote equity by mitigating caste-based discrimination in the post-secondary sector and broader society, the Office of the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) at the University of Calgary and the Office of the Vice-Provost (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) at the University of Alberta are collaborating to raise awareness, educate, and develop a nondiscrimination policy on caste-based discrimination. For more information, view the Frequently asked questions (FAQs).

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