Washington celebrates International Women's Day

Public News Service CHENEY, Wash. - Today is International Women's Day, and women across the state and around the world are celebrating and pushing for gender equality. The struggle for women's rights has taken on a new tenor in recent weeks, with the Trump Administration's revised travel ban for six Muslim-majority countries along with stepped-up immigration raids. 

Eastern Washington University has held events in the week leading up to International Women's Day, with workshops and speeches on creating more inclusive communities. 

Candace Martin heads the university's Women's and Gender Studies program.

"The theme this year for 2017 is, 'Be Bold For Change,'" she said. "I think with the state of things as they are today, it's of monumental significance that we are taking groundbreaking action that drives some change."

Also today, some women in Washington and across the nation are participating in "A Day Without a Woman" protests, by not going to work or spending money. Marches and rallies are planned around the state, including in Seattle, Vancouver and the Tri-Cities.

Martin says the purpose of International Women's Day is to forge a better working world and a more gender-inclusive world for women. She says the fight for women's rights is strong in eastern Washington, noting the large turnout in cities like Richland, Spokane and Walla Walla for the Women's March in January.

"I think people were a little surprised that eastern Washington had such a great turnout, but I think that that really shows that there are people who are ready to unite for change," she added. "And we're hoping that International Women's Day can be another one of those ways to bring people together to do that."

Author Megan Kruse is the keynote speaker at EWU's International Women's Day celebration. Women and men are wearing red today in solidarity with "A Day Without a Woman" protests.

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