Honouring the Ongoing Legacy of International Women's Day

Friday, March 6, 2020
by Feridun Hamdullahpur

international women's day at waterloo

Change happens all around us on a daily basis. I see change in the discoveries made here on campus. I see it in the young and talented minds who come here to learn and live every day. Today our community marks something that goes beyond those subtle, everyday changes, but recognizes a movement that lasts generations. Today we celebrate International Women’s Day.

Today we honour those generations of women who have stood up against enormous odds to advocate and create real change. There still exists an imbalance in our society that should not exist. The natural state of our world is one of balance. Our society, for too long, has placed an artificial limitation on the opportunities and personal growth of generations of those who identify as women.

We have seen progress after more than 100 years of dedicated advocacy from the beginnings of International Women’s Day to the women’s suffrage movement and the Women’s Marches we see today.

It is no wonder that we celebrate women’s rights and equity in March. It is the only month that is also a verb and we must act. There is more work to do within our society and even right here in our University community.

HeForShe: Building a Legacy of Change and Action

Waterloo has been on its own journey of action in the name of gender equity for nearly five years. We have done so through the HeForShe movement. 

We have been global champions for gender equity since 2015 and made noticeable progress. It is a significant year for the University of Waterloo as this first phase of HeForShe is coming to a close soon, but ready for the future expansion of this important, global initiative. Waterloo has built a foundation and legacy of progress through HeForShe thanks to the contributions of tens of thousands of students, faculty, and staff members.   

Legacy was also the theme of this years HeForShe Writing Anthology Contest. University community members submitted fiction, non-fiction and poetry pieces reflective of their gender equity experiences all through this theme of legacy. The voices within the Anthology are beautiful, invoking a sense of passion, grief and hope for the future. I am proud that the University of Waterloo provided such an outlet for our community. I encourage everyone to read and hear these wonderful stories and voices in this final HeForShe Writing Anthology. 

Today our community honours our past, present and future. This is a legacy worth celebrating.