March 8, 2016

By Simon Goodacre | Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

International Women’s Day was first celebrated broadly in 1977, when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women's rights and world peace. This year, Brandeis celebrated the day with a panel featuring several graduate students.

“Women and girls continue to be systematically disadvantaged, and violence against women and girls rank among the highest human rights violations worldwide,” says Sabine von Mering, moderator of the panel. “International Women's Day is an opportunity to build solidarity with women everywhere, a chance to learn from each other, celebrate women's accomplishments, and raise awareness of what still needs to be done.”

Von Mering, an expert in German Cultural Studies, will be joined by four students:

  • Christine Cruz Guiao

  • Jaspreet Mahal

  • Reem Mehanna

  • Sohani Sirdeshmukh

The theme for this year’s event was gender parity. The student panelists spoke about how women in different countries are attempting to achieve parity. “Even in the most advanced societies women continue to face an uphill battle as working mothers,” says von Mering. “Paid family leave and affordable childcare alone will not turn this around unless fathers are made to do their fair share of housework and childrearing."