Every year in the United States, March is officially recognized as Women’s History Month. This coincides with the globally observed International Women’s Day on March 8th. Our campuses in China annually celebrate and educate about women and their accomplishments during this time, with libraries featuring books by and about important women in history, club activities, and special events to honor and support the women and girls in our school communities.
BASIS International School Guangzhou’s annual International Women’s Day event is always a special time to recognize the young women of our senior class, with this year’s theme being “Wonder Women.”
Read more from our school leaders and faculty.
From Head of School, Dr. Erica Smeltzer
International Women’s Day is a global holiday celebrated every year on March 8th. The day is set aside to highlight issues of gender equality and to celebrate the strength, success, and perseverance of women across the world and across time.
As an educator, I take particular pride and pleasure in working alongside our families to educate brilliant and resilient young women who embody our capacity for compassion, caring, empathy, strength, passion, and persistence.
At BASIS International School Guangzhou, our International Women’s Day celebration brings together teachers and administrators to honor the women that our senior girls have become. The celebration–which is always touched with laughter and tears as we share words of encouragement from mothers, graduates, and past teachers–is a beautiful reminder of the community that women build around them and carry with them as they move through the various stages of their lives.
This year, as Christiana K. of the BIGZ class of 2022 shared her experience as a female major in data science and cognitive science at UC Berkeley with our class of 2023 and as our girls sold handmade earrings and necklaces celebrating the beautiful diversity of women’s body shapes and sizes, it became very clear to me that this generation is one step ahead of mine in confidence and even a few more in determination. They live in a world where the adults around them have supported their growth, ambition, and ability. In the rare cases where they have not found support in us, they have found ways to create it for each other.
My many thanks go out to all of the students and faculty who worked to plan the Women’s Day event.
From Vice Head of Middle School, Ms. Charlene Schalkwyk
On March 8th, the sound of women’s voices and laughter is heard everywhere, as women around the world celebrated International Women’s Day. At BASIS International School Guangzhou, this occasion of sisterhood is celebrated across the campus, but a touch of special excitement is added by a unique tradition on the social calendar, when the BIGZ women gather with our senior girls to signal the nearing completion of their high school careers.
The red carpet was laid out for the young women in the 2023 theme, “Wonder Women.” In honor of their astonishing accomplishments and personalities, they were treated to a menu of delicate dishes in a glamorous room of flowers and lights. After Ms. Charlene shared her special words of wisdom, Ms. Ashley Barnes, accompanied by Ms. Toni Li, performed the song “Unwritten.”
The two phenomenal women who pioneered the event, Martina Gamez and Jasmine Cochran, wished them well for their future in video messages. The audience could not hide their pleasure when Christiana K. and Kelly M., alumni from the Class of 2022, appeared on the screen. There are none better to deliver powerful motivational insights than friends whom they have looked up to from the previous year!
It was when they were individually presented with a personal message from their moms’ hearts, as they see their daughters beautiful butterfly wings unfold, that the emotions became overwhelming. Tears still drying, our own Stella Q. stepped onto the stage and wowed her classmates and teachers with an impromptu dance performance that will long be remembered as a demonstration of the “Wonder Women” of this extraordinary community.
Club Activities: Stand By Her (The Spectrum Club)
The Spectrum Club organized a few interactive activities in the school lobby to celebrate International Women’s Day. They included jewelry sales, a flashcard game, and an exhibition about gender equality and women’s health. An art piece featuring blossoming flowers was displayed to represent women’s strength and vitality.
We, as a team, worked very hard on the project. We got into groups to brainstorm ideas and create products. Our hard work paid off: the jewelry we made was well received, and many teachers and students had a good time playing the flashcard game.
Through this event, we want to highlight the importance of gender equality and pay tribute to those who fought for it. We look forward to a more gender-equal society where more girls can access educational resources and health products and have their voices heard.
BASIS International School Guangzhou Book Exhibition: HERstory
Shared by Ms. Keira Wu
Gender issues have been stirring heated discussions worldwide, and many female authors are committed ot amplifying female voices and facilitating a better understanding of women’s situations by sharing their stories. They are role models for younger generations and show them infinite possibilities.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, the library planned a book exhibition called “HERstory.” Our librarians carefully selected books written by female writers, including The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro, A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, and My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.
Women can be independent, talented, brave and inspiring. We hope that the book exhibition will encourage our young scholars to voice their ideas and take action to build a more diverse and equitable society.
In the Classroom: Grade 1 Inspiring Sheroes
Shared by Ms. Gabriela Salvador, Ms. Joyce Yi, and Ms. Olivia Mo
In honor of Women’s History Month, Grade 1 students have been learning about the inspiring stories of remarkable women worldwide in their Humanities and Connections classes.
In Humanities, students started with a Women’s Day Read Aloud, presenting a kaleidoscopic ABC of iconic women who have become role models in our society thanks to their accomplishments and mission. In subsequent weeks, students will learn about outstanding figures such as Katherine Johnson, Frida Kahlo, Jame Goodall, and Greta Thunberg. Students will approach a variety of texts narrating the life of these extraordinary women, from picture books to non-fiction articles, thus receiving the opportunity to compare and contrast different sources of information, textual genres, and points of view.
In Connections, students sort out different adjectives and jobs into a Venn diagram for boys, girls, or both boys and girls. When discussing their choices, we encouraged students to think critically and challenged stereotypes. Students were also asked to write what they learned from a few iconic females, such as Malala Yousafzai, Rosa Parks, and Mae Jemison. Besides promoting gender equality and encouraging students to rise to challenges, the Connections project also emphasized the importance of kindness. We were glad to see students demonstrate empathy and compassion in their articles. Many wrote about treating others with kindness regardless of gender and race.
This collaborative and transdisciplinary effort helps enhance students’ literacy skills and encourages them to reflect on their social-emotional learning. We want to entice them to make kinder choices across different subjects.
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