LSBU hosts debate to mark International Women’s Day
07 March 2014
International Women's Day, celebrated on 8 March, is a
global day celebrating the economic, political, personal and aspirational
achievements of women past, present and future.
In some countries the day is an official holiday, where men
honour the women in their lives with flowers and small gifts such as the Mimosa
flower—the official symbol of International Women's Day.
Each year the United Nations declare a theme for
International Women's Day, with 'Inspiring Change' selected as the theme for
2014. The theme aims to encourage advocacy for women's advancement everywhere
and in every way, and challenge the status quo for women's equality and
vigilance, inspiring positive change.
Shadism and the construction of identify for women is a
global issue. To this day many cultures perceive those of lighter skin tone as
more beautiful while taboos and stigmas surround darker-skinned women. In countries
such as India, the sale of skin lightening products was worth £259 million in
2010—and is still growing at a rate of 18 per cent each year.
LSBU's panel debate 'Shadism—Perceived
notions on beauty', which took place on 4 March, was opened by LSBU Deputy
HR Director Vongai Nyahunzvi, followed by a short documentary introducing the
issue of shadism and the impact it has had on five women and a young girl.
"The event was a unique opportunity for higher education to
participate, discuss and debate some of the key issues around identity and the
strong taboos and stigmas that impact some dark-skinned woman on a global basis
from an early age and leading to further inequalities from childhood to
adulthood," said Satwant Kaur, Senior OD & EDI Manager at LSBU.
The event featured presentations from three women renowned
on the issue of shadism, who shared their thoughts on the issue and how this
form of discrimination can be overcome.
Speakers included Dr Yvonne Robinson, Senior Research Fellow
at LSBU's Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research, Debbie Weekes-Bernard,
Head of Research at Runnymede, as well as Dr Jude Smith Rachele, Co-Founder and
CEO of Abundant Sun Ltd.