WUOMFM

international women's day

Kathleen Davis

Women and men across Michigan rallied today in support of International Women's Day, as well as "A Day Without a Woman."

An event at Eastern Michigan University drew crowds to the Student Center on campus.

Solange Samoes is a professor of Women's and Gender Studies at EMU. She has organized International Women's Day events at the university since 2006.

Samoes stressed the importance of inclusivity and intersectionality at this year's rally.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

On the first International Women’s Day in 1911, thousands petitioned for women’s rights to vote and end discrimination in the workplace. Now it’s a mix. Participants hope to close the remaining gaps where they exist and celebrate achievements women have made in the last century.

Mandy Keller Rodriquez was one of dozens who participated at a rally in downtown Grand Rapids.

“We might feel equal or be okay here, in this little portion in Grand Rapids. I’m not saying we are but – with this being an international event we’re saying we know that there are women out there that don’t have it as good as we do or have the voice that we do.”

Ruth Stein says obviously women in the U.S. have made huge progress. But she points out many inequalities still exist.

“As long as mothers have a harder time getting hired, as long as women don’t get paid as much, and long as that is seen as something as a women’s problem and not as a man’s problem, or a family’s problem – then there’s a measure of inequality and we still need to be out here working for this sort of thing.”

Hundreds of people checked in at rallies in Big Rapids, Detroit, and Ann Arbor.