Yale News

International Women’s Day, which took place Tuesday, featured celebrations hosted by the Working Women’s Network and the Women’s Network at Yale. 

A number of established women’s groups on campus celebrated International Women’s Day, hosting events ranging from a social media campaign led by the Women’s Working Network, or WWN, to a movie night led by the Women’s Network at Yale, or TWN. Campus events echoed the International Women’s Day’s theme of #BreakingTheBias, which seeks to recognize both the conscious and unconscious biases which make it difficult for women to move ahead in their careers as compared to their male counterparts. 

“It feels daunting to reckon with women being unequal in society and at work, but the truth is since 2012, we’ve gone from making 77-cents for the dollar a similarly educated man makes to 88-cents for the dollar,” said co-chair of WWN Stacey Bonet, who also serves as chair’s assistant at the Yale School of Public Health. This number is lower for non-white women, with Black women making an average of 63 cents and Latinx women making an average of 55 cents per dollar. “We are trying in everything we do, this day and all year long, to raise awareness and encourage all the women at this University and in our communities to lift each other up and overcome these barriers to our success and our equality.” 

The WWN is an all-volunteer group of female staff who work to provide advocacy and community building events, in addition to their respective jobs within the University. 

Nikita Tillman, social media manager of the WWN, created #BalanceForBetter printable cards, which can be used in photos through social media posts to show individuals’ commitment to building a gender-balanced workforce. Examples of the social media cards include phrases like “We will maintain a gender parity mindset” and “I will help forge a more gender-balanced world.”

Tillman explained that due to COVID-19, the necessity of advocating for celebrations of International Women’s Day through social media has become as important as ever. 

“[Social media] gives me the ability to empower, provide support and remain in feminine solidarity with amazing women around the world and motivates us to continue to pursue progress, equal pay and equity across the board,” Tillman said. 

Through email, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram outreach, Tillman invited affiliates of the WWN to share #BreakTheBias images, videos, resources and social media to encourage people to commit to “helping forge an inclusive world.” 

These efforts by the WWN fall in line with the International Women’s Network’s national social media campaign. The international chapter of the women’s network encouraged women to share selfies of people crossing their arms, striking an “X” pose on social media to show solidarity with one another. 

“With everyone transitioning to be back in-person and struggling through this change, our focus was really on making it easy for women in our community to support each other and women around the world,” Bonet said.

On campus, the Yale Women’s Network organized a movie night to foster a sense of community amongst women during International Women’s Day. TWN President Lauren Potter ’22 said that the group showed “The Devil Wears Prada” because it speaks to the importance of hard work, ambition and self confidence — values embodied by the Women’s Network.

Potter acknowledged the importance of hosting both virtual and in-person events to maintain and strengthen a sense of female community at the University, adding that TWN is hosting a women-owned New Haven business sale and a “Let’s Chat” event guided towards confidence and self-advocacy as a part of its broader Women’s History month celebrations. 

“I would love to see more in-person activity across campus to acknowledge this important time to celebrate women,” Potter said. 

On the University level, there were also various in-person events that specifically recognized International Women’s Day. 

In an email to the News, Vice-President of University Life at Yale Kimberly Goff-Crews ’83 LAW ’86 emphasized the importance of celebrating the contributions of women to the University year-round, and not solely during a specific day or month. 

On International Women’s Day, the University premiered “My Story,” a new discussion series centered around sharing the stories of Yale community members and their journeys. 

“The intention of the “My Story” series, which launched today, is to amplify the voices of members of our community — to celebrate the many unique perspectives and experiences that contribute to a vibrant and excellent Yale and to learn from one another,” Goff-Crews said. 

The discussion series is hosted in conjunction with Belonging at Yale, a designated University effort for inclusion, diversity and equality. Goff-Crews, who moderated the discussion series, explained that the event was not intentionally scheduled to coincide with International Women’s Day but said that it was a “happy coincidence” that the two overlapped. 

Women’s International Equal Pay Day is on March 15. 

Alessia Degraeve covered student culture. She is an English major in the Saybrook College class of 2025.