By Trinity Jones
On Saturday, March 7th, Ames Public Library hosted an event in celebration of International Women’s Day, with a reflection of this year’s theme #EachforEqual. In association with Iowa State’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program and Theatre Department, the event included performances and discussions in regard to gender equity.
To start the program, the Iowa State Theatre Department performed segments of plays that they have and planned to perform during their 2019-2020 season (unfortunately, all future performances are canceled due to COVID-19). All of the performances were a part of their HERoic season, a season dedicated to all female playwrights in advocation for gender equity in the arts. They performed a segment of The Wolves, a contemporary drama about young women on a soccer team, a musical performance from the musical 9 to 5, and several performances.
Zoey Lazare, a senior in Art and Design with minors in Performing Arts and Digital Media, is a member of the Theatre Department. Lazere was the stage manager for Climate Change Theatre Action: Lighting the Way, scenic designer for Dry Land, and was to be an actor and puppeteer for Of the Deep. She was glad to see Iowa State Theatre taking the initiative to put women playwrights at the forefront. She loved being a part of the shows and being able to assist in telling inspiring stories by women.
“I’m glad we’re producing these works and introducing ourselves and our audiences to these new points of view that these female playwrights bring,” says Lazere. “Sharing these stories and showing strong, well rounded, dynamic female characters [are] incredibly important and I’m glad ISU has dedicated the whole season to this mission,”
After the performances from the Iowa State Theatre, women leaders from around the city of Ames were introduced to lead small group discussions to celebrate achievements, challenge stereotypes and bias, and advocate for gender equity as women. Topics ranged from sexism in the workplace to being a young woman leader.
Grace McCunn, a 14-year-old activist who hosts the annual Amazing Grace Lemonade Race, a charity walk/run for Blank Children’s Hospital, was the leader at one table. McCunn shared how she has been underestimated because of her youth and her womanhood. ‘Your youth doesn’t determine your impact’ was a common theme at her table.
At another table, Iowa State graduate assistant Chinmayee Mankar led a discussion on sexism in the workplace. She shared her own experiences being a woman in the workplace and allowed others to share their similar struggles.
The annual International Women’s Day event allowed the community to gather—not only to discuss the gender inequity that has and continues to persist in our society, but also to celebrate women’s accomplishments.