Women's Week Celebration Begins

Women’s Week 2012 kicked off Monday with a launch party and a performance by Expressions Dance Company in front of the Science Center.

Members of The Seneca, Inc., a co-sponsor of Women’s Week, served free candy and cake decorated with the official colors of Women’s Week, purple and yellow.

Before indulging in the festive sweets, students had to fill out a card that read “Women’s Week is...” and change their statuses on Facebook to say they were participating in Harvard’s Women’s Week.

“My news feed was bombarded with statuses about Women’s Week, which made me very happy,” said Seneca President Marianna F. Verlage ’13.

Women’s Week, co-sponsored by The Seneca and Harvard College Women’s Center, aims to celebrate women’s achievements and generate campus conversation about the status of women in today’s society.

Though Monday’s party in front of the Science Center marked the beginning of Women’s Week, the series of events officially began Sunday with the Radcliffe Choral Society’s talk on pursuing passion while searching for a career.

Organizers significantly expanded their publicity campaign this year, according to Women’s Center intern and Women’s Week organizer Nur N. Ibrahim ’13. In the month leading up to Women’s Week, sponsors posted its trademark logo—two yellow W’s with a purple background—across campus. Organizers then took pictures of this guerilla-style advertising and posted those images on Tumblr, according to Ibrahim, who is also a Crimson editor on the photography board.

“That definitely attracted a lot more attention,” Ibrahim said. “A lot more people will come to events this year simply because of things that preceded them.”

The week will culminate on Thursday, Feminist Coming Out Day, with a coffee house and reception for the Feminist Portrait Project. The Portrait Project is an initiative sponsored by the Radcliffe Union of Students that asks self-identified feminists to submit a picture and a statement explaining why they are feminists.

The Feminist Coming Out Day Coffee House has been one of the most popular Women’s Week events in recent years, according to Ibrahim.

During the reception, students will perform music and spoken word poetry related to gender issues.

Co-sponsored by Queer Students and Allies, the event aims to demonstrate the diversity of individuals at Harvard who identify as feminists, RUS co-chair Humbi Song ’13 said.

Other events include a discussion on feminism and hip-hop hosted by the Association of Black Harvard Women and Latinas Unidas as well as a forum at the Institute of Politics on female leadership.

Ibrahim said that Women’s Week events draw significant numbers because these events offer students the opportunity to discuss topics that are not typically broached in such public settings.

“Events like this really attract a huge [portion] of the Harvard population because it’s something that’s not discussed in major Harvard forums,” Ibrahim said.

—Staff writer Melanie A. Guzman can be reached at melanieguzman@college.harvard.edu.

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