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She Moves: A Celebration of Women

Edited by: Jina Aryaan

 

Last Thursday was International Women’s Day, and to celebrate all the amazing women in the world and at U of T, the U of T intramurals program put on an event called She Moves: A Conference in Motion. Since I had participated in different athletic classes and an intramural program last semester, I decided to check it out!

            Walking into the gym I was met with a crowd of different girls, leggings on, hair pulled back-these women were ready to move. They organized us into different teams, and each team got a different colored shirt. Here are me and my friends, repping our bright pink shirts!

There were 10 different activity stations to participate in throughout the night, and we rotated through each one in 15 minute intervals with our teammates. We started out with Zumba, which was a great way to start the night! I love Zumba-the music and the moves are so upbeat and energetic, but if I’m being honest, I look ridiculous attempting to body roll and jump like the instructor does. But in this environment, it absolutely didn’t matter. All of my teammates got super into it, and we all had such a fun time, giggling together while we just went for it.

One of the next activities was yoga. I have always wanted to do yoga consistently, having only been to a handful of classes here and there. My flexibility is something I have always struggled with, and this is something that always held me back from even wanting to try it. Instead of focusing on how inflexible I felt, or comparing myself to the other people in the room, I tried to just focus on myself, and what I was doing. I found that because I was in such an encouraging environment, it was easy to forget about all of my hang-ups, and just enjoy the movements.

One of my favorite activities was the weight training session. They had a variety of stations to rotate through with a partner, and the only rule was that while your partner was doing the moves, you had to cheer her on. The atmosphere was so positive and uplifting; there was no fear of judgment or criticism. I know that for a lot of girls, myself included, the idea of even trying different moves with dumbbells or kettlebells in the typically male dominated gym atmosphere can be intimidating. This activity in particular was important because I think it showed a lot of girls that they could do something they didn’t even know they were capable of, or were too scared to ever try.

At the end of the night, they had a discussion panel with three Olympians: Tamara Tatham, Rosie MacLennan, and Ali Greey. Tatham is a professional basketball player, who played for Canada’s national team in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. MacLennan is a trampolinist, who won the gold medal in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Greey is a boxer for the Canadian National Team. These women shared their experiences about the difficulties they faced in overcoming the many hurdles to get to where they are. Greey shared that women’s boxing was not even legal in the Olympics until 2012, evidence of the gender inequality still heavily present in athletics. It was so encouraging and inspiring to hear these women open up about the challenges they had to overcome to get to where they are.

Tamara Tatham, Rosie MacLennan, and Ali Greey

One statement that really stuck with me from the night was made by Deide Konney, the U of T intramurals coordinator. She said that there is so much that women can do, if only they would just include us. This really reminded me of how much further we still have to go to achieve complete gender equality. As a white woman in North America, I have never experienced the same levels of gender discrimination and inequality that many women around the world face, and I’m so appreciative of that. We are privileged to be able to attend events like this, that highlight the importance of women, and encourage us to pursue anything we set our minds to. Many women around the world are not granted the same opportunities as us; therefore, it is our responsibly to speak out and stand up for those who don’t have these same rights. We have a long way to go before the playing field is even across all domains; before the glass ceiling is eternally shattered. But it starts with events like She Moves to continue the fight for total equality. So we’ll just keep moving until we get there.   

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U of T Intramurals Instagram, @fazvisions

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Tali Main

U Toronto

Tali is a second year psychology student at University of Toronto. She enjoys singing, reading cheesy teen romance novels, and cooking/eating delicious food!
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