Event, programs celebrate International Women’s Day
An International Women’s Day celebration at East Carolina University on Tuesday provided an array of programming options for attendees, including a film screening of “The Seeds of Vandana Shiva” and unique insight from a former U.S. senior adviser.
Sue McIntyre is a retired senior adviser in international humanitarian crises for the United States. Her career included 10 years in international humanitarian relief, and she lived and worked in 17 embassies, including the U.S. Embassy in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, from 2015-17 when Russia first invaded the country.
McIntyre stressed her knowledge of the spirit of Ukrainian women and how they’ve adapted, even during difficult and uncertain circumstances amid a war.
“I’ve spoken to women I worked with and other contacts and they said physical things can be taken care of, but it’s lack of ability to plan,” McIntyre said of challenges. “They don’t know what might happen next week and don’t know how to plan if children will be in school. … They are really creative in how they’re trying to combat this and trying in keeping life going. The women in every situation, even if it’s during a natural disaster, women end up carrying much of the burden because they are at home taking care of everybody.”
McIntyre also shared some of her photos from Ukraine, noting their beauty and how much she enjoyed the country. She compared them to more current photos of areas damaged by war.
“I love the creativity of Ukrainians and they have a wonderful sense of humor, but they are very committed,” McIntyre said. “You look at these pictures, you see the difference. They were celebratory people and families went out and crowds were out. In 2022, you see that lights are out. That is one of the biggest things that I wanted to drive home to you is life has definitely changed.”
March is Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day annually is March 8, which was during ECU’s spring break.
The event at the Main Campus Student Center was sponsored by the university’s Women and Gender Office, Office for Equity and Diversity, main campus library, gender studies program, Department of English and the gender studies executive board.
“We do a lot of different events, programming and resources for students, faculty and stuff,” said Chelsie Hargrove, director of the ECU Women and Gender Office. “Some people might think we are just for students, but we are for everybody. Our office also has an initiative where we offer free menstrual products to anybody and work with several different offices across campus. We also offer parenting resources, which is something we’ve been trying really hard to push more.”
A session led by Jennifer Sisk, senior teaching instructor in English, allowed for a virtual connection to a representative from Fatima Jinnah Women University in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. A panel discussion, titled “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Cultural Understanding at ECU,” included multiple panelists emphasizing the importance of skills in intercultural competence and communication.
There was an opportunity to contribute new baby items to assist families with limited resources. An interactive activity let guests decorate their own #EmbraceEquity slogan T-shirt, and they could add to an #EmbraceEquity poster.