SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA – On March 8, Cal Poly honored International Women’s Day by celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women through various planned events.

International Women’s Day has occurred for well over a century, with the first gathering in 1911 involving over a million people campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, hold public office and for an end to discrimination. Today, International Women’s Day sees a number of missions to help forge a gender equal world, celebrate women’s achievements and increase their visibility, while calling attention to inequality and inequity.

The Cal Poly International Center hosted a virtual panel presentation, “Choose to Challenge Gender Inequity” discussing cross-cultural frameworks for understanding gender, equality, and equity. Panelists included Joni Roberts, DrPH CHES, assistant professor of Kinesiology, Dawn Neill, PhD, associate professor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Liberal Arts, Ning Zhang, PhD, professor of Political Science, and Olivia Bảo-Khanh Trần, coordinator for Womxn and Gender Equity Initiatives in Student Diversity and Belonging. The panel covered gender-related issues from cross-cultural and international perspectives, including how gender norms have shaped and influenced the career paths and academic achievements of Cal Poly faculty & staff.

“The panel provided a rich discussion from multiple points of view on the intersections of gender, race, culture, power and privilege,” said Cari Vanderkar, assistant vice provost for International Programs and moderator for the event. “We brought this group of colleagues together to provide the campus insight into personal as well as professional experiences living and working in intercultural settings.”

The Cal Poly International Center also invited students, faculty and staff to celebrate women’s achievement and raise awareness against bias all week long. Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to strike the “choose to challenge pose”, raising their hand assertively to show that they chose to challenge inequity and post it on their preferred social media channel. Submissions were curated on the International Center website.

Roberts, who focuses her research on global health issues surrounding the periods of a woman’s life, said her research has influenced how she experiences International Women’s Day. “Menstruation is an integral part of what it means to be a woman, yet this process is celebrated, handled, and treated very differently across the globe,” she said. “I celebrate International Women’s Day by choosing to challenge what it means to be a woman, more specifically should we have the same resources, materials and structures to support menstruation?”

Review social media posts globally for International Women’s Day by using #ChooseToChallenge or the Cal Poly campus community contributions by using #IWD2021. A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. How will you help forge a world built on gender equity?

About Cal Poly

Founded in 1901 and part of the renowned California State University system since 1960, Cal Poly is a nationally ranked, four-year, comprehensive polytechnic public university located in San Luis Obispo, California. Known for its Learn by Doing approach, small class sizes and open access to expert faculty, Cal Poly is a distinctive learning community whose 21,000 academically motivated students enjoy an unrivaled hands-on educational experience that prepares them to lead successful personal and professional lives.
About Cal Poly International Center

The primary mission of the Cal Poly International Center is to provide leadership and coordination for international activities and to serve as the principal catalyst for internationalization efforts at Cal Poly. The International Center maintains administrative authority and university-wide oversight of international engagement, including international initiatives, programs, and activities supported by the campus.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and IIE released new findings from the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange at a Nov. 16 briefing in Washington, D.C. The briefing was held in conjunction with the worldwide observance of International Education Week.
Cal Poly International Center contact

(805) 756-1477
Press Contact

Britta Numair:

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