International Women’s Day Teach-In inspires forgotten stories and controversial ideas
By Grace Manthey
Snow may have postponed the International Women’s Day Teach-In by a few weeks, but that didn’t stop the speakers from embracing the “Silence Breakers” theme in the Quinnipiac Piazza on Thursday, March 29.
The goal for the event was "to elicit a discussion about those who have taken active measures and public stances to disrupt a culture of silence," according to the organizing committee.
Linda Lindroth, a part time professor at QU, and one of the 16 speakers at the event, talked about racism and sexism in the fashion industry. She showed photos of clothing and ads that reflected racist and sexist sentiments. In one instance, Lindroth showed a photo of a t-shirt that a clothing company sold that read, “It’s not rape, it’s a snuggle with a struggle.” She showed another image of boots for sale online that make swastikas with its footprints.
Lindroth also discussed H&M, a popular clothing chain, that has $4.8 billion in unsold merchandise. Lindroth advised people to try shopping at consignment stores and nonprofits to help with waste and unfair working environments in the fashion industry.
While some topics were clearly controversial, some controversial discussions came from less controversial topics. Communications professor Ewa Callahan’s presentation about the forgotten history of Polish female journalists during the solidarity movement sparked a debate about abortion.
At the end of her presentation Callahan talked about the problems still facing women in Poland, including abortion rights. When a member of the audience tried to debate more about the issue, organizer Anat Biletzki cut it short, trying to stay on time.
But the event wasn’t all negative. Lindroth talked about how polo shirt company Lacoste, who is famous for their alligator logo, put a series of endangered animals on their shirts to help with the environmental issue.
Economics professor Linda Fisher talked about ways women can close the wage gap “regardless if there is discrimination or not.” Specifically, she talked about negotiating wages, something she said women are less likely to do than men.
Biletzki, who is a philosophy professor at Quinnipiac, seemed to be happy with the turnout and the support from Quinnipiac organizations.
The first teach-in, Biletzki said, had an audience of “maybe one,” and now with seeing how many women were at the forefront of the March For Our Lives rallies across the nation, she feels like “progress has been made.”