From Where We Are

International Women’s Month takes on a new meaning for some

The events of the past year had profound impacts on the USC community, especially for women.

[A photo of the Summit's featured keynote speakers]

International Women’s Day is tomorrow. What can we learn from the headlines coming out of USC this year and how can we ensure a better future from women’s history month? Carter Hyde has the story.

This past year has been a difficult and complicated one for USC students, especially for the women in our community. The numerous allegations of sexual assault at Sigma Nu fraternity had long-lasting effects on USC and sparked community-wide protests in support of survivors. The lawsuit and trial of former USC gynecologist George Tyndall and the toxic culture of emotional distress and abuse suffered by the USC Song Girls also had detrimental effects on our community. Mary Ahn is a member of the feminist organization USC Flow and echos these concerns.

The past year has definitely taught a greater public that the struggles that a lot of women face and a lot of the struggles that the feminist community talks about, is never-ending and it’s always there, even if you think that it’s not or even if you don’t directly witness it yourself. It’s always there.

Women’s History Month, in March, was created to honor and celebrate women’s contributions to American history, however, there are still many issues that must be addressed.

According to Ahn, one of the things we have to address is diversity within the celebration of women’s month and the topics that are discussed.

There are definitely flaws to this month and to the day. I will say that we still have to work on including women of color, non-binary individuals, transgender women. And so I think there is that definitely exclusionary aspect of this of the month at the end of the day.

Ahn believes being aware of these exclusionary practices and being willing to change them without fear of criticism is extremely important to create positive change. We saw that this weekend with the annual USC OWN IT Women’s Leadership Summit. The executive director of the event, Mikaela Villalpando, she says her organization made changes this year to be more inclusive.

This was also one of the first years we did the conversation on ableism too. I noticed in the past we didn’t have any speakers who had disabilities on our main stage panel. So including that conversation was really special to see.

She says the conference featured a variety of experiences from accomplished women that represent many backgrounds.

All three of our keynote speakers in the conversation led a really impressive conversation about breaking into spaces and how they made names for themselves as female, identifying black women and how they’re like promoting the change in the entertainment industry and so on.

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. People across the world will come together to celebrate the achievements and commemorate the struggles women face.

For Annenberg Media, I’m Carter Hyde.