Women’s rights week is starting at CES today. This is a week long project initiated by CES student, Alexia Fafara. Alexia is a first year MA student of a two-year Polish-French double degree programme, jointly run by the Institute of European Studies JU and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques at the University of Strasbourg. We have asked her some questions in order to present her “Women’s rights week” project to you.
1. What has inspired you to organize Women’s rights week?
I am a women’s rights activist for some years now and I think that every opportunity is good to seize even if it is just symbolic or at a very small scale. As far as CES is very open to all kinds of suggestions i just said to myself “Why not?”.
2. What is the aim of the project?
The aim of the project is to raise awareness. Of course we are in a context where people are probably already aware of some problems but i often hear that there is no need to fight for women’s rights anymore because they are not threatened as they used to be. I totally disagree with this analysis. If we just take a look at what is happening in Poland we clearly see that we have to be constantly ready to defend our rights and not to take things for granted. Women’s rights are threatened everywhere and Europe is not an exception.
Also, i often hear that 8th March should not exist, that there should not be a woman’s day and i take this opportunity to correct it: 8th March is not about celebrating a specific kind of woman or about making sales in supermarkets which are often absurd because they are spreading very sexist stereotypes like “Woman’s day: sales on washing machines” or as i saw yesterday on a billboard from a well-known supermarket where it was written : “Woman’s day: one shower gel bought, one for free”. The point is that it is not a “woman’s day” but a “women’s rights day”. On this day, we raise awareness about the rights of ALL women. Actually, to achieve this goal everyone should be involved, women and men. It is all about understanding that when women will have the same opportunities as men, everyone will win from this situation.
3. Why do you think people should be interested in the project?
I don’t know if people will be interested, i just can hope! It would be great to see people involved as far as it is something that really have an impact on our everyday’s lives, for women as for men. I hope that a lot of people are going to take some time to stop on the hall of CES, to read the informations and to write some wishes on the board that is available all this week. And of course i hope it will inspire some people so we could create new projects for the next months.
4. What events are planned?
I planned three things. First of all you can find on the hall of CES a “Make a wish for women board” and some informations about women’s rights in EU and in the world. Everyone can write a wish regarding women’s rights on this board: it can be something you consider as a priority for women’s rights in 2017 or simply a general wish. On Wednesday, we transform the usual movie night of CES into a special movie night by broadcasting the movie “Solidarnosci wedlug kobiet”. This movie underlines the crucial role of Polish women into the movement Solidarnosc. This is an opportunity to remember that history is also written by women and that they deserve to see their fight acknowledged. Eventually on Friday at 7pm in Massolit, we will be really glad to have a discussion with Professor Smadar Lavie from the Department of Ethnic Studies in the University of California, through the topic “Mizrahi Feminism and Palestine at the Crossroads”. That is all for this week but i plan to organize other things during the semester.
5. Do you have any suggestions for students who are thinking about starting a project of their own?