Photograph by Allyn Suzuki
Berkeley High School (BHS) hosted a number of events honoring International Women’s Day on March 8.
The Women’s Student Union organized a bake sale for which all proceeds went to organizations supporting women, including Bay Area Women Against Rape and Planned Parenthood, and BHS Stop Harassing facilitated t-shirt making and selling.
Additionally, BHS teacher Amanda Marini screened Hidden Figures throughout the day in the Little Theater, and BHS teacher Deborah Godner’s students created a “Women’s Fight for Equality” timeline that was posted in the C-Building gallery. Her students also crafted posters of prominent women throughout US history that were displayed throughout the school. Some math teachers planned lessons for the day around the analytical geometry used in Hidden Figures.
Godner also hosted the cast of The Vagina Monologues in her classroom. They performed an array of monologues from the production, and answered questions from students regarding the content of the monologues. Godner said her students were a bit surprised at how honest, raw, and direct the performers were, but “overall I think they were super engaged and interested,” she said.
“We wanted to create powerful presence and an honoring of awesome women in our public space … to bring attention to women’s voices and women’s experiences around the world, to create a space for those stories and voices,” Godner said regarding the goals of the International Women’s Day events this year. “Especially since we have some momentum from the #MeToo movement to be out in the open with issues such as sexual violence.”
Emily Hou, a senior in the Arts and Humanities Academy, who went to watch Hidden Figures with her class in the little theater, said she saw how hard it was for women of color to work and support their family, as well as how segregation was experienced. Hou said the movie was inspiring and “encouraging for us as women to do something.” Hou also said those in the film industry should make more movies like Hidden Figures.
Gulraiz Khan is a freshman in Academic Choice. He saw Hidden Figures during his first, second, and third periods. “I believe this movie should be shown in every school on International Women’s Day,” said Khan.
“There was so much going on all day on campus … Students seemed to know it was [International Women’s Day] and many were involved in the activities,” said Godner.
She also thought that students and staff made the day meaningful even though International Women’s Day isn’t recognized as a district holiday.
“I hope these activities showed the energy women have in this country now, the energy to be seen, heard, and proud. I also think it’s part of an essential call to men and male allies to self reflect and find a way to be a part of this movement,” said Godner.