Female and male participants were able to choose from a variety of discussion workshops, take yoga lessons or watch dancing rituals from around the world Saturday afternoon during the seventh annual International Women’s Day Celebration.
Approximately 250 women convened at the St. Paul Student Center for the event. Many events were cancelled, however, because presenters were unable to make it due to the weather.
Michelle Collins, a junior in the College of Liberal Arts, is involved in the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group’s women’s task force. As a volunteer, she said, she was pleased with the attendance.
“I think it’s been a good mix of students and community members,” Collins said.
This year’s theme was “Seeking Peace: Women’s Perspectives in a Changing World.” Eight of the 15 workshops focused on changes due to the events of Sept. 11.
In the closing ceremony, Sen. Mee Moua, DFL-St. Paul, spoke about her hardships as a Hmong refugee.
Moua thanked the audience for its attendance but more for its influence on her as a woman. She said she wouldn’t be where she is today without for her family’s support and the Minnesota women who helped her campaign.
Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County’s first female county attorney, introduced Moua to the audience. Klobuchar told a story about her daughter and friend discussing the appropriate time to have a child.
“My daughter told her, ‘You cannot have a baby until you run for office and win an election,'” Klobuchar said. She said she knew with that comment that times for women are definitely changing.
Amelia Buttress, an event organizer from Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, said this event wasn’t just about women.
“People are becoming increasingly aware that women’s rights are important as a community and as a whole,” Buttress said.
Although the event focused on educating and informing women, several men attended the workshops.
Reid Kruger, who was there to support Moua, said he enjoyed the political activism workshop he attended.
“It had very practical information that any citizen could benefit from,” Kruger said.
Moua said even though she sees the face of Minnesota changing, she still had obstacles to overcome when campaigning for office. She said her primary barrier was the fact she is a woman.
“When a woman wants to do this, her personal life gets viewed, her married life get viewed and her parenting skills get viewed,” Moua said about running for office.
Moua said she wants women to realize the importance of using a big-picture perspective when pursuing their passions.
“It is so needed, now more than ever, that we must join together and define where we want to go as women,” Moua said.
While Moua praised women who run for office, she said she applauds women in all positions of authority.