The afternoon started off with a story of hope.
Emma Nappi, a senior Ohio University student, recounted memories of struggling with eating disorders, and a recent relapse, in front of an audience of about 50 at the International Women’s Day Festival in OU’s Baker Center Ballroom on Sunday.
Even though she struggled a lot, she wanted the audience to know that with a “lot of hard work, things will get better.”
The event became much brighter as time went on. Many student groups and some individuals performed dances in costumes from their home countries during the festival.
The Chinese Learners Association performed a fan dance, with sky blue costumes and silks on their fans.
One Indonesian student invited spectators to the dance floor to learn an Indonesian line dance.
“I really liked the Sisters of Salaam dance because they were really in sync with each other and you could tell they practiced a lot. I also really liked their outfits,” Erica Brechtelsbauer, an OU sophomore said.
Four Indian women danced to Bollywood music.
Sarah Jenkins, the program coordinator for both the OU Women’s Center and the LGBT Center, also said she liked the array of cultural dances.
“I really loved the different dance numbers and costumes…and I really loved the International Fashion Show,” said Jenkins.
About 15 women from many different nationalities dressed in clothing from their countries and modeled for audience.
“I got to work with the fashion show participants this year really closely and I really enjoyed getting to know them and seeing those outfits up close,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins has helped plan the OU International Women’s Day Festival for two years.
The Athens, OH, based celebration of women was one of many around the world.
“I think it’s important [to have local International Women’s Day festivals] because America doesn’t always think if itself as part of the international community. We think of everyone else as international,” Jenkins said.
She thinks it’s important for Americans to realize they are part of the international community.
International Women’s Day began as the National Women’s Day in 1909 in the U.S. “in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America,” states InternationalWomensDay.com
National Women’s Day finally become a international after Clara Zetkin, leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, pushed the idea at International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1910.