Women of CSUB share their stories on International Women’s Day

Autumn Layton, Features Editor

Attendees pose for a photo before the Organization of Women Leaders event on March 8. Photo by Jocelyne Ordonez / The Runner

In honor of International Women’s Day, California State University, Bakersfield celebrated the accomplishments of diverse women throughout the campus.   

There are a couple of holidays in March, but a significant one is International Women’s Day. This global holiday is celebrated annually on March 8 to recognize the achievements of women throughout history. Many issues that women fought to improve include gender equality, reproductive rights, and more.   

On International Women’s Day, CSUB’s Organization of Women Leaders held its annual event in person this year for the first time since 2020. For the past two years, the event was virtual and many were excited to interact with one another face to face.  

Many from the steering committee of the OWLs were in attendance to participate in the activities and discussion. There were presentations, refreshments, and a raffle. The event was held from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on March 8 in the Student Recreation Center Solario room.  

There were international snacks from countries such as Germany, Ireland, and Canada available for women to enjoy. At the end of the table, there was cucumber water, and fruit. As the presenters were talking, everyone was indulging in the cultural snacks.  

After a moment of gathering and chatter, the first presenter, Claudia Catota, chief diversity officer and special assistant for the president at CSUB, began her presentation about equality and equity.  

Catota’s main message during her presentation was “understanding where students are and meeting them there.” Closing the equity gap and making sure all students have the resources they need to succeed needs to be a priority, said Catota.  

In between each speaker, people were encouraged to mingle and visit some of the tables that were set up with activities. Amy Ressler, assistant professor of theatre, told an entertaining old tale about a woman wanting peace from her annoying husband. It brought a lot of laughs from the crowd.  

To wind things down, Fitness and Wellness Coordinator Leah Bank taught some yoga poses. Bank was accompanied by Student Wellness Manager Sarah Mebane, who played three singing bowls to help hone in on your relaxation. Yoga helps with stress management, sleep, and relaxation, and can improve posture.  

Heather Turk, a senior double major in psychology and criminal justice, attended the event last year and said that this year’s felt more inclusive. Turk’s favorite part of the event was the yoga poses, as it was something she had never done before.  

The last presenter was Jane Dong, dean of the school of natural sciences, mathematics, and engineering. Dong touched on how women in STEM are underrepresented.  

Dong also said that she is an immigrant from China and she spent her childhood with her grandma who never completed high school. Dong joined CSUB in August 2022 and has felt very welcomed by the staff and faculty.  

It has been Dong’s mission to make sure she inspires women on campus to follow their dreams. In doing so, Dong will host NSME coffee talks to give students the opportunity to express their needs that she might be able to help them with. 

“It will take an entire village to make a difference,” said Dong. 

Each presenter was knowledgeable and passionate about each topic. OWL Co-Chair Marina Manzano, who hosted the event, ended with, “ I hope you all leave empowered and encouraged.”