International Women’s Week at JCU

The students of John Cabot University celebrated International Women’s Week with a series of inspiring events. To open up the week, the Women’s Leadership Initiative in collaboration with the Fashion Club had a photo exhibit in the Aula Magna called “Women of John Cabot.” Behind every picture there’s a powerful story and a strong message. Students, faculty, and staff members were featured.

On Monday evening, two renowned journalists were invited to JCU to join the conversation about media through the lens of gender. They were Barbie Latza Nadeau, the Rome Bureau Chief of The Daily Beast, and Francesca Caferri, author of several books and journalist for La Repubblica, the second most distributed daily newspaper in Italy. The president of the Women’s Leadership Initiative, Marina Traylor, led the conversation and acted as a moderator. The journalists brought their extensive experience to the table and discussed the shifts they have noticed in the news world recently. They talked about the huge disparity that still exists in their field, but they also gave hope and encouragement to the many aspiring journalists in the audience. The Q&A session spanned several topics, like how news outlets deal with racism and play with stereotypes.

Tuesday during lunch break the Women’s Leadership Initiative filled one of our biggest classrooms; the topic of the discussion was the #MeToo movement. WLI vice president Francesca Giuliano illustrated the long story of the movement and its consequences. The conversation touched upon the issues Italy faced with accepting the movement and the repercussions it had on people. Many of the students in the room shared stories they’d experienced or read about, and talked about how an online movement becomes a real, world-altering revolution.

After classes on Wednesday, the club invited faculty and students to discuss gender in the classroom. How do students, male or female, feel when they are speaking up in class? Do men and women experience the same kinds of fears and anxieties? How do they react to good grades and bad grades? Is any of this gendered, or does it depend exclusively on the individual’s own personality? This forum was extremely stimulating because the members had so many different opinions. Many examples were brought to the table, and many stories were shared from professors and students alike. At the end of the evening, some of us had changed their minds, some had stayed of the same opinion, but we all gained more perspective on the matter.

Thursday, March 8, we celebrated International Women’s Day with the yearly event held in a sun-kissed Lemon Tree Courtyard. Marina Traylor once more opened the day with an inspiring invitation to celebrate women, then gave the word to President Pavoncello. Students and faculty followed with speeches and readings. The courtyard was packed with happy students, and a delicious lunch was catered by Hummus Town, a social enterprise funded by JCU alumna Shaza Saker in support of Syrian refugees.

In the afternoon, a group of students, alumni, and staff participated in the Women’s March organized by the activist movement “Non Una Di Meno”. Thursday evening, the Health and Wellbeing Office in collaboration with WLI and Athletics organized a self-defense workshop in the gym of Gianicolo Residence.

It was the fitting ending for an incredibly empowering and inspiring week. The celebration of women is not limited to one week a year at JCU, but this was a good opportunity to remind individuals about solidarity, the issues women still have to face, and of the need to overcome inequality.

Degree seeking student Federica Bocco
Federica Bocco
JCU class of 2018
Communications major, Humanistic Studies minor
Hometown: Naples, Italy

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