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International Women’s Day Festival to be held March 16

The Ohio University and surrounding community is invited to celebrate Women’s History Month at the University’s sixth annual International Women’s Day Festival.

Scheduled for 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 16, in the Baker University Center Ballroom, the International Women’s Day Festival will celebrate the achievements of women past, present and future while showcasing the talents of Athens’ diverse community.

The event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by OHIO’s Women’s Center, the Multicultural Center, the International Student Union, the Black Student Cultural Programming Board, and International Student and Faculty Services.

“The International Women’s Day Festival is designed to educate the campus and the community at large about the progress women have made over the years and to acknowledge the progress that has yet to be made,” explained Susanne Dietzel, director of the Women’s Center and founder of the festival.

“The festival is also an opportunity to highlight the richness and diversity of women in our community, both domestic and international,” Dietzel said. “The festival is both scholarly and entertaining.”

According to Dietzel, more than 30 individuals or groups from both the OHIO and local community have signed up to either perform or present at the festival. Those attending the festival will be treated to hula hooping demonstrations, Bollywood dancing, music, poetry, research presentations and more.

Among the festival’s highlights will be an international fashion show coordinated by FACES, a fashion and modeling based student organization at OHIO. Dietzel noted that the fashion show will feature both traditional and contemporary styles, and some of those gracing the runway will be modeling women they admire.

First observed in 1911, International Women’s Day is a global celebration that is held on March 8. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Equality for Women Means Progress for All.” Because OHIO’s spring break coincides with International Women’s Day, the University celebrates the occasion later in the month.

“I hope those attending our festival have a fun afternoon with their families,” Dietzel said, noting that the event is open to men and women of all ages and will include activities for children. “I also hope they walk away from the event with an awareness and celebration of who we are as a community of women and men.”