The month of March is recognized nationally in the U.S. as Women’s History Month. This annual celebration of womanhood and female achievement is particularily timely this year, especially considering the new presidency, which has raised questions concerning basic human respect, freedoms and equlities. This Wednesday, March 8th, the celebration goes global with International Women’s Day. This year’s women’s day theme is #BeBoldForChange. People around the world, from all walks of life are gathering to celebrate the day with talks, rallies, and other gatherings. Here at Brandeis, the Brandeis Labor Coalition (BLC) and the Graduate Labor Coalition are joining forces in conjunction with other campus sponsors, including Her Campus at Brandeis, to organize a Women’s Day Rally. I sat down with Phoebe Dolan ’20, a BLC member and rally organizer, to get all the details on the upcoming rally. Her Campus: According to the rally’s Facebook page, the theme of the rally is centered around a “day without women.” Can you elaborate on that?
Phoebe Dolan: The day without women is a call for action that happened right after the Women’s March, and this is Brandeis’ response to it. So, their call for action, a day without women, is to show not only how women are important in our society but also the economic challenges and differences that women face, working every single day. So the reason the BLC is involved in this is that we believe in economic equality. And it’s important that groups who are affected by income inequality and economic troubles work together in solidarity of each other. Women and workers are not seperate entities, so we’re having this rally be a women and workers’s event. It’s about the two groups working together to pull each other up and highlighting the economic issues that may become more of a problem under the new administration.
HC: What can Brandeis students expect from the rally?
PD: The rally is going to be in front of the library at 3 PM on Wednesday, March 8th, and it will include speakers of all walks of life on campus. We’re going to have some adjunct faculty speaking, who are currently re-negotiating their union contract with the university, specifically different pay becuase they’re not adequately compensated. Hopefully, we’ll have a few people from Sodexo speaking and other unions on campus like facilities workers. We’ll also have some student speakers, some slam poetry. And also maybe some grad students.
HC: What impact are you hoping to impart on the Brandeis community in holding this rally?
PD: We’re hoping to raise awareness about what’s been going on here at Brandeis in terms of the adjunct professors, and show the administration that students are standing in solidarity with their adjunct professors. Adjunct professors are professors who sometimes work here under the title of lecturer, and basically they are non-tenure faculty who are brought in and recieve lower pay than normal faculty even though they tend to hold the same level of degrees and teach the same classes. At Brandeis and campuses all over the country, women and people of color tend to be adjucnt professor more than white men, so that’s something we want to bring to light as well during this event. Hopefully, the Brandeis community will gain awareness of what is going on, and see and hear from some folks who work in unions here. One of our hashtags, #FeminismForThe99Percent, shows that feminism is not just about being someone that’s hoping for things to get better, but standing up for the folks who need it to get better. That’s sort of our angle on this event.
HC: Why do you think it’s important for Brandeis students to Participate in the rally?
PD: It’s important for Brandeis students to show their support. We need to show that Brandeis cares and the students care. And also becuase it’s a day without women, it’s a national thing and we should be there supporting that.
HC: How can those planning to attend the rally, prepare?
PD: You can prepare by wearing red, to show support for women, and feel free to bring a poster, write a sign. There’ll be a bunch of stuff going on there, so get decked out when you get there. And just come ready to listen, bring the hype and have a good time. There’ll be food, there’ll be music, it’s gonna be great.
For more information concering the Women’s Day Rally at Brandeis, click here.