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By: Crystal Lobo

During the week of March 7, the MSU’s Women and Gender Equity Network hosted International Women’s Week on campus. The week consisted of panels, workshops and showcases among other activities. Topics discussed included feminism, intersectionality, trans and gender politics, and the harsh truths about sexual violence and physical assault.

WGEN wanted to account for different sentiments and accurately represent feminism in planning the week. “We worked with our passions to get people to plan things we felt would be useful, and then plan them in a way that was useful, allowing for the flexibility of different styles in facilitation,” said Hayley Regis, WGEN Coordinator.

WGEN used the week to reach out to largely unheard voices on campus. “One of my goals was to reach out to populations that are hardly accessed by the MSU. We had people come out that I never met or my executive team never met. I think we’ve been having that in our space, as well as having the space being something people are comfortable accessing whether they are heavily involved in services or looking for a place to be and to exist,” said Regis.

International Women’s Week ran as a pilot project last year. This year marked a special milestone for the event since it was the first time that the newly formed WGEN hosted it. Though a new addition to the MSU, WGEN still received support from community partners, professors, speakers and other allies in order to deliver the week’s events to the McMaster audience. The WGEN team faced hurdles in achieving their objectives but their efforts resulted in success.

“I think that the community has been really receptive to having this, which I think has been really awesome,” said Regis.

Noteworthy events of the week included an event for transfolk and non-binary folk to connect over discussion of art, Women in Academia Panel, Club Night, and Yoga conducted by the Brown Girl’s Yoga Collective. Moreover, workshops such as Faith in Feminism, Feminism 1A03 and Feminism 4QQ3 proved to be important platforms in the discussion of the complexities and nuances behind feminism.

“I wouldn’t say there was one event I would rank over the other ones,” said Regis.

“I think that the community has been really receptive to having this, which I think has been really awesome.”

Regis and WGEN are open to feedback from the McMaster student body regarding the event, as well as the service at large. Regis said, “If there’s criticism, I welcome it because I think it will make the service better and stronger in future years. Talk to me about anything. Support the service, because I think even if it’s not a service that caters to you, people need to recognize it as one that’s necessary.”

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