Feminism. The word itself often has a negative connotation, associated with women that hate men and will do whatever they want in order to prove a point. But it actually has a different meaning, one that Kayla Wirtz communicated last week during the University of Cincinnati’s second annual Week of Women.
Week of Women is a week-long event to empower women and enable them to see the change that they can make in the world. Last week was about spreading the idea that feminism isn’t something that should be frowned up, but appreciated.
“I really wanted to empower the women at our school to always believe in themselves,” Wirtz said. “We’re all one Bearcat family, so it’s important that we all stand together in this feminist movement and show that we are strong.”
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Each day had a different event going on. The first event on Monday the 26th was Social Responsibility and Citizenship, where students could get insomnia cookies and respond to the statement “I am…”. On Tuesday, Week of Women had their keynote speaker, Julie Zeilinger, give a speech about, “Why Feminism is Not a Dirty Word”. Wednesday, Holtman’s Donuts were sold on Mainstreet to raise money for Circle of Sisterhood. Circle of Sisterhood is the Panhellenic Philanthropy that helps young girls and women to get an education in underdeveloped countries. Also on Wednesday, UC students and staff had the opportunity to write encouraging letters to women in the Cincinnati area.
Thursday, Week of Women hosted a workout session with a talk on positive body image afterwards. Last, but not least, a panel of UC administration with special guest, Interim President Davenport was hosted on Friday in the alumni center.
Around the world, it is often seen that men do not partake in the fight for women’s rights to the extent that men do, and Kayla Wirtz noticed this issue and chose to do something about it as she planned week of women.
“I wanted to have events that both men and women on our campus could join in on,” Wirtz said. “What a lot of people don’t understand is that women’s empowerment shouldn’t be something that only women are fighting for, so I really wanted to have activities that the men on our campus would enjoy participating in as well.”
The first step in fighting this battle is realizing that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. This issue is not something that can be overcome by only half the population. By aiming to include both sexes in Week of Women, Wirtz was able to take women’s empowerment to the next level, and leave the students with the motivation to make a change.