Week of women's worth

Women's Worth Week founder Kate McCord, says she hopes the week-long event will become an annual occurrence at Queen's.
Women's Worth Week founder Kate McCord, says she hopes the week-long event will become an annual occurrence at Queen's.

A third-year student has taken it upon herself to promote self-esteem on campus during Queen’s first Women’s Worth Week.

Designed as a series of events meant to raise awareness about violence against women and self-esteem issues, the week will feature panel discussions, workshops, a movie marathon and a self-esteem board where women can post photos of themselves holding signs with inspirational messages.

“I know that there are other groups that deal with women’s issues, but there was not hing specifically on self-esteem,” founder Kate McCord said.

The idea for the campaign began in September after discussions with the Arts and Science Undergraduate Society (ASUS) and the AMS. “It never sat well with me that there was never something like this on campus that included everybody,” McCord, ArtSci ’13, said.

Now McCord has a team of roughly 20 students to plan and co-ordinate events.

Leading up to this week, students have been invited to participate in the “I am distinctly beautiful because …” activity.

Participants are encouraged to make a list of 24 things that make them distinctly beautiful, and choose one statement to post as a photo on the group’s Facebook page.

“There are so many girls who don’t think that they’re beautiful, or smart and don’t feel confident in their abilities, whether they are academic, or otherwise … it’s a shame,” she said. “People should celebrate who they are as unique individuals, and it shouldn’t matter what gender you are or race you are.”

The ribbon campaign also places a heavy emphasis on getting men involved. One focus of the week is the White Ribbon Campaign, with Jeff Perera of White Ribbon Ryerson coming to deliver a keynote address and workshop.

This campaign aims to end men’s violence against women. Men wear a white ribbon to send the message that they won’t commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

“I really wanted to bring that campaign here because I think it has a very positive message about community and the role that men play in promoting gender equality,” McCord said.

She said she wants the campaign to promote dialogue in the Queen’s community.

“It is so easy to become anonymous here. If you don’t go to class, often professors assume that it’s because you just don’t care, but in reality, you might have something awful going on in your life,” she said. “If we don’t talk about it, the issues become anonymous. If people aren’t able to define the issues, they will often put the blame on themselves.”

Looking ahead, McCord said she wants to see Women’s Worth Week become an annual event at Queen’s. She said she wants to start a local chapter of the White Ribbon Campaign.

The next Women’s Worth Week speaker event will occur tomorrow from 7 to 9 p.m. in Dupuis Hall, room 215.

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