Courage, Candor, Collective, Celebration

International Women's Day offers a time to remind us of what we have done, and what we strive to do.

It is essential to talk with courage and candor about gendered and racialised inequities in education and elsewhere, how sexualities and identities shape every minute of our lives, how women’s paid and unpaid labor makes the world go round (women truly hold up half the sky!), and how women economic migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers have brought these issues to the forefront of global discourse. We also know that it is women’s environmental activism, combined with the activism of recent generations, that illustrate the precarity of our planet.

March 8th is a commemoration of the anniversary of the death, in March 1911,  of 146 mainly immigrant workers in the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York City. It was established following earlier advocacy for a “Women’s Day” by the socialist Clara Zetkin and other leading women activists.

Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai are examples of young women who have taken great risks to advance the rights of women and to speak for our planet. They are standing on the shoulders of many women including, in 2022, the 60 women Nobel Laureates, admittedly from a total of 954 Nobel laureates. Yet, women are not a homogenous group. Women are divided by an array of inequalities aside from gender, including 'race'/ethnicity, class, abilities, nationalities, sexualities, identities, age, and more. Yes, there is still much to be done!

At UCSB we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month by recognizing our achievements, around the world and at our campus. We can see from the work of our colleagues in Feminist Studies, Sociology, Chicana/o Studies, Global Studies, and Black Studies, among many other departments, why UCSB is a leader in this work.

For example, our campus ranked #3 in Women’s and Gender Studies in the 2021 US News and World Report. And there is more:

There are a number of events at UCSB that allow us to appreciate our achievements:

The Women’s Center is celebrating IWD through creative art on March 8, today. You can register for the event here:

Alumni and former women’s staff have established a Fellowship to commemorate Mahsa Amini’s legacy:

The re-scheduled lecture by Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa the women’s rights lawyer in the Philippines will now be held on May 18th:

Alisa Weilerstein will perform in Campbell Hall on March 10th:

The Association of Pacific Rim Universities, of which UCSB is a member, held a discussion in Hong Kong exploring intersectionality on March 7th:

On our campus, and elsewhere, I hope we all can mark women's accomplishments this month as we remain mindful of how much more is needed.

Let us be brave, outspoken, and work together: it is our collective work that leads to progress!

Enjoy the celebrations of International Women’s Day and Women's History Month!


Kum-Kum Bhavnani
Associate Vice Chancellor
Global Engagement

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