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UCLA students, faculty unite in celebration of International Women’s Day

Elizabeth Vargas, Jenna Bustamante and Rose Bustamante (left to right), programs coordinators for the Dashew Center, are pictured. (Dylan Winward/Daily Bruin senior staff)

By Alexandra Crosnoe

March 14, 2024 10:32 p.m.

Students and faculty gathered at the UCLA Dashew Center on Thursday to celebrate International Women’s Day with activities, discussion and food.

The event took place from 12 to 2 p.m. in the Tom Bradley International Hall first floor lobby and included food from women-owned businesses, a photo booth and a postcard station where attendees could write letters to women who inspire them.

While the event was open to all, many who attended were international students. Mathilde Potéreau, a graduate student in French at UCLA Extension, said this was her first time celebrating International Women’s Day outside of France. She added that she attended the event to meet women from other countries.

Man Hua, a postdoctoral space physics student, said she first celebrated the day in her home country of China and thought it was important to continue the tradition while in the United States.

“Before I came to the U.S., we also celebrated in China, and it’s a big day for all the women to admit their efforts and their achievements,” she said. “They play an important role in the whole society, so I think we should absolutely celebrate it.”

Hua added that her opinions on gender roles have changed since coming to the U.S., as she has come to see the inequalities existing between men and women.

“I really liked the movie ‘Barbie.’ There is a line that says a woman or a girl can be anything and everything she wants,” she said. “That’s true, and we should tell every woman or female you can chase your dreams, and you can think bigger.”

Some attendees said they enjoyed the postcard station because they were given the chance to write a letter to a woman who inspired them.

Thais Amaral, a UCLA Extension student, said she attended the event last year and enjoyed being able to send a postcard to women in her home country of Brazil. Potéreau added that she appreciated how the postcard activity allowed her to reflect on the women in her life.

The event provided food including salads, sandwiches and cookies, all of which came from women-owned businesses. Amaral said she appreciated that the event was supporting women in this way, adding that seeking out women-owned companies can help decrease the gap between female- and male-led businesses.

UCLA should also take more action to support international women within the university community, including by highlighting their stories on social media, Amaral said.

People at the event noted the importance of Women’s Day being international. Potéreau said the day’s worldwide celebration emphasizes that women can make a bigger impact when they work together.

The day is also important to celebrate internationally because all women suffer from gender equality, and people can learn about the unique experiences of women in other countries, Amaral said.

“All around the world, we have similar problems regarding to equality, gender equality, and different countries suffer different things as well at the same time,” she said. “It’s nice that all around the world they’re having this day so they can share their views on it.”

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