International Women’s Day at university: A conversation with the SU’s Women’s Officer Imy Chapman

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Imy Chapman is a third year BA English student, the member’s president of the Chorus Choir, and a Women’s Officer within the Universities Liberation Committee. She is also an absolutely passionate feminist. The Falmouth Anchor interviewed her on why International Women’s Day (IWD) is so important to discuss and celebrate.

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To start with: why is it so important that we still acknowledge and continue to celebrate international women’s day?

Still now in 2022, there continues to be the same stigma that has existed around the word feminist, a word that is associated with man hating, bra burning, female superiority, and it is sadly a false notion that deters people from defining themselves as feminists. The need to discuss and interrogate issues surrounding those who identify as female across the world has not suddenly vanished because less people are talking about it. International Women’s Day to me is a time to celebrate how far we have come, our successes and achievements, but it is also a day to campaign and work towards what is to come. I don’t think this day will ever diminish in importance, there will always be women to celebrate and there will always be more that can be done.

Read a lot or a little, just read, educate yourself on other people’s experiences and I can guarantee you it will change your own.

What can university students do in order to partake and celebrate International Women’s Day?

It can be as simple as sharing content online, from places like Instagram, or the International Women’s Day Website, which also has lots of guidance about how to get involved. As far as events go, I am running a Pop-Up event in the Upper Stannary on International Women’s Day Itself, Tuesday 8th March, from 11:00-15:00, during which many other societies will be involved, there will be food and freebies as well as activities which promote discussions surrounding all things International Women’s Day. There are many other events which are taking place across our campuses from societies including Women in Conservation, Women in Business and Fal Fem Society, which are open to all students (but some of the events are ticketed so check their Instagrams for details on those). Beyond attending events, wear purple! I will be the whole week starting on Monday the 7th, as purple is the colour of International Women’s day. There are so many ways to show your support, from using this years hashtag #BreakTheBias when sharing International Women’s Day related things on social media, to talking to a friend about it, everything, even things that seem minor; it can make the world of difference.

Going forward, I would love to see the amount of people getting involved in International Women’s day increasing, especially within our university

How can we try and actively support women more, big, or small?

Seems obvious, but start by supporting those around you, encourage them to talk, talking is the most important thing-and at risk of sounding like an advert for ITV — talk to each other, about everything and nothing. Read, read, read. Read a lot or a little, just read, educate yourself on other people’s experiences and I can guarantee you it will change your own. One of the foundations, I think, of defining myself as a feminist was watching Emma Watson’s speech for the UN HeForShe campaign in 2014 and hearing her say “If not me, who? If not now, when?” As a 13 year old girl struggling with defining herself as feminist and feeling like she wasn’t doing enough, those words really resonated with me, and they still do to this day. Whatever you do, big or small, if not you then who, and if not now, then when?

How do you think we can support the LGTBQ+ community on IWD?

One of my other role models is actor Amandla Stenberg, who is incredibly outspoken about intersectional feminism. In an interview with Teen Vogue they said “I came to the realization that I can be proud of women without necessarily identifying as one. A lot of people are rejecting the binary — that’s the future of feminism”. This is a sentiment I try to promote myself as well. It is so important to ensure the conversation surrounding International Women’s Day and feminism, extends to all those who want to have a role and a voice.

Going forward, what do you want to see people do for IWD?

Going forward, I would love to see the amount of people getting involved in International Women’s day increasing, especially within our university. I would love for more individual students and more societies to get involved with events and individual endeavours. In terms of a more general answer, keep doing what we are doing, but strive to do a little bit more each year. Wear a bit more purple, read a bit more, talk a bit more.