Rally for Rights

Women in the area find ways to support equality

Each year, more than 1 million women and men take to the streets in cities across the country for the Women’s March.

This year was no different. The Women’s March has become an annual event on the third Saturday in January, to support gender equality since its beginning in 2017. Many of these marches took place in Michigan with one taking place in Kalamazoo, only two hours from the Ferris campus.

The Kalamazoo March and Rally saw hundreds of attendees despite a winter weather advisory over West Michigan for the entire weekend.

The march was put on by the YWCA on Jan. 18, 11 a.m. at Bronson Park. The rally began at the First Congregational Church nearby following the completion of the march.

A number of speakers and performers were featured at the rally. The seats of the church were full and more attendees stood in the aisles.

One of the main topics brought up was the pay gap between men and women. One attendee said this was her main reason for marching.

“I am most passionate about equal pay and equal treatment,” first-time marcher Lilly Lisznyai said. “Women don’t get treated the same as men.”

Although Big Rapids has not had a march, there are many organizations in the area supporting women’s rights. One of these is The Ferris Museum of Sexist Objects, which is located in Starr 314.

According to the history of the collection of objects, the mission of the museum is to “be a leader in raising awareness and inspiring activism in response to everyday sexist objects that promote sexism, gendered violence, female stereotypes.”

The museum has put together a library resource guide to provide resources regarding gender roles, pay equity and other global women’s issues. The guide can be accessed from their page on the Ferris website.

Another Ferris organization working to support women is the Ferris Women’s Network. This organization was formed in 2017, around the same time the earliest marches took place.

One of the first events recognized by the group was Equal Pay Day in 2017 which they promoted in hopes to educate students about the gender pay gap in the workplace.

The Ferris Women’s Network continues to put on events, specifically monthly mentoring and networking lunches. Anyone is invited to attend these lunches to meet working women from the Big Rapids community and from Ferris.

Many women from this group and others help to plan events for the annual celebration of women’s history month which is celebrated each March. For more information on how to get involved with this year’s events, contact the Office of Multicultural Student Services at omss@nullferris.edu.