MARION COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - In honor of International Women's Day, staff and students at Fairmont State University held an event Thursday to celebrate the social, political, cultural, and economic achievements of women.
Representatives from student organizations, collegiate teams, local government, and the private sector set up tables to display information about their experiences and accomplishments.
"It's an opportunity to provide an educational platform for our students and community members on the importance of the role of women on a global standpoint, as well as from an educational one," said Julie Gomez, director of career services and civic engagement at FSU.
In the year of #MeToo and Time's Up, Gomez said the push for progress and gender parity is more crucial than ever.
"This is probably the most important time in my lifetime to exercise the empowerment we are feeling from women around the globe," Gomez said. "[They've] been fighting and struggling and advocating for women's rights, as well as education and human rights."
The event Thursday was held on the heels of the statewide school personnel strike, which captivated the state and garnered national attention.
Political scientists and labor experts contend that the success of the work stoppage was not only a victory for labor unions, but also for women, who make up about three-quarters of the teachers nationwide.
At Fairmont State Thursday, students said they were inspired to see women stand up as some of the most vocal leaders during the strike.
"There's a saying right now that 'you shouldn't always be the voice for others, you should pass the mic as well,'" said Bailey McInturff, a freshman who is a part of student government a FSU. "So I think that we've definitely seen that recently, especially with the teacher's strike. The mic has been passed to women all over the state."