International Women’s Day began with a first gathering in 1911, and was celebrated by the United Nations for the first time in 1975. Since 1996, there has been an annual theme associated with the event, and in 2011, March was designated as Women’s History Month in the United States. In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, our campuses in China featured books by and about important women in history, and held events to honor and support the women and girls in our school communities.
At BASIS International School Guangzhou, the annual International Women’s Day event celebrated the young women of the class of 2022, while the library also held a book exhibition in conjunction with the 2022 theme of #BreakTheBias–highlighting the wide variety of accomplishments by women across myriad industries and areas.
Read more from Head of School, Dr. Erica Smeltzer.
From BASIS International School Guangzhou Head of School, Dr. Erica Smeltzer
It gave me incredible pleasure to celebrate both the strong and brilliant young women at BASIS International School Guangzhou and the inspirational women of past and present at this year’s “International Women’s Day” event–an event that I am proud to say is now a BIGZ tradition.
The event is a celebration not only of the women we are and aspire to be, but also of sisterhood–the solidarity of women based on shared experience, concerns, and challenges.
BIGZ hopes to foster these bonds of mutual support, understanding, empowerment, and friendship in its faculty and students of all ages and genders; however, on this International Women’s Day, we took a moment to enjoy the elements of these that are particular to women’s experience and history.
To make sure that this sense of sisterhood persisted beyond graduation, our graduating class of 2021 recorded video greetings from their college campuses across the globe, and the school displayed the letters of encouragement they wrote to the 2022 class of women at the same event last year.
Our BASIS International School Guangzhou mothers also wrote messages of support and inspiration to their graduating daughters in special journals for them to take with them on their coming journey.
I have found a community and home at BIGZ, and I am thrilled that this community has fostered such a fantastic group of female students, faculty, staff, and administrators; it is thrilling to be one woman among so many that I admire deeply.
Library Book Exhibition on International Women’s Day
The theme for the 2022 International Women’s Day is #BreakTheBias. In response to the theme, the BASIS International School Guangzhou Library planned a book exhibition called “Fearless: Becoming Who You Are.” Women are still faced with various bias and challenges throughout different stages of life in today’s society. We hope that the book exhibition will inspire and encourage our students to take actions to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive world.
The key reading materials in this book exhibition are “the stories of women.” Our librarians carefully selected more than 30 books and magazines for the exhibition, each of which told stories of outstanding women who have achieved remarkable success in manifold industries and areas.
These women, though coming from different backgrounds and time periods, are always role models for young generations. Among these figures are the groundbreaking Physics and Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner Marie Curie, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, French existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir and many others.
In addition to the books and magazines, there was a specially erected comment board called “Words to Girls” for students to share and communicate. Some of the comments on the board shouted out their wishes and determinations for the future, which were impressively inspiring.
As we conclude Women’s History Month, our schools continue to uplift and encourage women and girls of all ages in our school communities, from the excellent examples set by our school leaders, to the excitement and love for learning shown by our youngest students.
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