Celebrating International Women's Day in Utah
Sponsoring events that raise awareness about sustainable mountain development (SMD) in the state of Utah, USA, and in North America, and bringing the public into contact with international guests are two of the main goals of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at Utah Valley University (UVU). UIMF members combined these two goals on 6 March 2017 by hosting United States Ambassador Eileen Malloy at UVU and involving her in an International Women’s Day project focused on gender issues. Malloy contributed to the gender and mountain women agenda during her tenure as the US Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan (1994-97) as well as during other diplomatic postings in Central Asia.
Participating in one of the many International Women’s Day events organized by the UVU Women’s Success Centre, the UIMF together with Malloy helped assemble several Days for Girls hygiene kits to be distributed in different developing nations and in mountain communities in particular. Days for Girls is a NGO whose mission is to “[create] a more dignified, free and educated world through access to lasting feminine hygiene solutions.” UIMF members are familiar with Days for Girls having hosted its president, Celeste Mergens, as the keynote presenter during the fourth International Women of the Mountains Conference (WOMC) at UVU in October 2015 and having participated in the Days for Girls side event presentation during the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York in March 2016.
This year, International Women’s Day also coincided with the tenth anniversary of UVU students and faculty hosting the first WOMC under the umbrella of the Mountain Partnership. WOMC has become a major grassroots gathering in North America to advocate for the gender and SMD agendas of the United Nations. Celebrating International Women’s Day and hosting the WOMC are ways in which the UIMF contributes to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality. These actions also demonstrate the importance of gender issues to the students and faculty at UVU.
News by UVU/Regan Warner
Photos: UVU/Mark Driggs