The world celebrated International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8, and the University of Nevada, Reno, was no exception.
About 100 people showed up at 7 a.m. to walk around the Quad on the south end of the university’s campus on Thursday to celebrate and show support for women at the university and around Reno.
Mary Dugan, general counsel for the university, has organized this event for the last two years.
“In spring 2016, I realized too late that International Women’s Day, always on March 8, was coming and I knew of no planned celebrations at the university or in the greater Reno community,” Dugan wrote in an article for Nevada Today. “I resolved then to make sure there would be a celebration to attend in 2017.”
Dugan said she picked the Quad because it is a historical location at the university. She also said she wanted every person at the university and in the community to be able to attend the event, which is why she set the time early in the morning.
“If the event were held before most people’s work day started, however, more of us would be able to attend,” Dugan wrote. “And because the Quad is the perfect setting, a brisk morning walk of as few as a couple minutes long or as many as 60 minutes long would be just the ticket.”
Dugan said the walk was a hit and everyone who participated enjoyed it. She plans on holding the event on every International Women’s Day.
“Next year we hope to involve more students and more community members – even one lap counts!” Dugan said.
The first Women’s Day was celebrated in the United States in 1909 and was held on Feb. 28. It was held exactly a year after women took to the streets in New York City to protest subpar working conditions and demand equal rights.
European women joined the movement in the years following, but it wasn’t until Russian women began protesting World War I on March 8, 1914, that the date for International Women’s Day was secured. Women in Russia were granted the right to vote after the protest. The United Nations didn’t recognize the day as International Women’s Day until 1975.
March is also recognized in the U.S. as Women’s History Month. This started in 1987 and grew from a movement in California. The school district in Sonoma held a week-long celebration in recognition of women’s contributions to society, history and culture. The districts around Sonoma, and eventually other states caught on to the idea and started celebrating the week. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter officially made the week a country-wide celebration, and in 1987, it was expanded to the whole month of March.
Madeline Purdue can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @madelinepurdue.