“I’m enjoying it already”, said Eva van der Sande to her friend Fay before the event started. “At first I thought: do I have to go? But to be honest, it’s really good fun.” One musical performance, two lectures, a spoken-word session and a panel discussion later, the enthusiasm of the Public Administration student had not diminished.

InternationalWomen’sDay_deDoelen_8Mar23_ThanhNguyen (10)
Public administration student Eva feels inspired after the afternoon. Image credit: Thanh Nguyen

Although she had a full day ahead of her, with an open day at the Dutch government for potential trainees, she was happy that she came anyway. “It’s so inspirational. The first speaker, activist and artist Fleur Pierets, was really good. I already knew about the principle of the ‘male gaze’ (the idea that popular media is still often created from the perspective of heterosexual, white men – ed.) that Sanne Koevoets talked about, but I still learned a lot. And you know what I really liked? The fact that I felt connected to everyone in the room. It’s a pity that the audience is mostly women, though. I’m curious to find out how men feel about these issues.”


Liang Wang is one of the men who did attend. “I’m a feminist, that’s why I wanted to come”, said the PhD student. “I’m from China, where it isn’t as easy for men to proclaim that they’re a feminist as it is here. As a feminist, I also support the LGBTQI+ community, so it was interesting to learn more about that from the two speakers.”

InternationalWomen’sDay_deDoelen_8Mar23_ThanhNguyen (13)
PhD students Qiaoling Hua (left) and Liang Wang both wanted to come to show that they are feminists. Image credit: Thanh Nguyen

Qiaoling Hua, also a PhD student, came with him. “Days like these are important. We still have a lot to talk about”, said Hua. She was particularly inspired by the panel discussion between four students. Among other things, this discussion focused on how much women learn about their own bodies from other women’s social media – more than in secondary school biology classes – and the danger of constantly applying filters to photos. “I learned that expressing yourself is a brave move. When I post a photo on social media, I often use a filter. I want to show more of myself – the person behind the filter.”

Escape Plan

Exchange student Anna is grateful that she came. Most of all, it seemed fun to her, but it was much more valuable, she says. Image credit: Thanh Nguyen

Anna Montgomery attended the drinks party in good heart. “I feel less lonely here”, said the exchange student in Communication and Media. “The lectures by Pierets and Koevoets included the perspective of the queer community, which I belong to. When they talked about the fight for equal rights, I was reminded of my own country, the United States. Abortion is no longer legal everywhere. I’m from Florida, which is not exactly an open-minded state. When I go out with friends to queer clubs, we always have an escape plan in case there’s another shooting. I felt lonely in the Netherlands because I’m a long way from home. It feels so good that this is also a topic of conversation here.”

Read more

University celebrates International Women’s Day in the city

About two hundred people celebrated International Women's Day in de Doelen on Wednesday.…