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Portrait of Anna Liuzzo in her school classroom.

Published March 12, 2019

Creating awareness of women’s issues for local high school students

GSE co-sponsors local International Women’s Day celebration

Amherst Central High School and GSE teamed up for what may be the first-ever celebration in a Western New York school of International Women’s Day on March 9, 2019, featuring school-wide events and “learn-in/tech-in” sessions to raise awareness of women’s issues among students.

The event included seminars and activities for all students on three themes affecting women locally, nationally and globally. The program followed a week-long lead-up of announcements and flyers to raise awareness of women’s issues and struggles for equality around the world.

“The structure of these events was more than just another lecture aimed at young people,” said Sarah A. Robert, associate professor from the Department of Learning and Instruction (LAI). “School teachers asked for a participatory event, a conversation that was informative, as well as an opportunity to practice dialogue concerning women’s issues.”

Robert was asked to get involved by Amherst Central High School Assistant Principal Nancy Ables, so she organized this event and brought along Noemi Waight, LAI assistant professor, to discuss STEM/health, and Ana Luisa Muñoz García, an alumna from the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, to discuss politics.

“I knew of International Women’s Day and I participated in it when I lived in Argentina, but I was not aware of any schools in the Buffalo area that were celebrating the day,” Robert said. “As a guide, I drew on my skills as an ethnographer, as a professional researcher who studies everyday life, seeking the meaning of it from the participants’ own words and experiences.”

According to Robert, the women students were concerned about reproductive health and sexuality, unequal pay for men and women, the misrepresentation of women in the media and in politics, and the lack of paid maternity leave.

“It's important to me that we listen to young women students because this is a celebration of and for them,” Robert said. “This is what encouraged the search for speakers from WNY and beyond.”

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