For the first time ever New Mexico has celebrated International Women’s Day, a day that governments and institutions set up around the world to celebrate the achievements of women in society, and CNM had the privilege to host the celebration, part-time Political Science Instructor for CHSS, Fatima Tannagda said.
Tannagda organized the event which was held in the Richard Barr Boardroom on Thursday, March 6 in the Student Resource Center, so that students and faculty alike could celebrate the contribution of women in the community and all over the world, in addition to talking about women’s issues, she said.
“It is going to be the first time we celebrate International Women’s Day in New Mexico and CNM is celebrating it, and our focus is to talk about the issues of our women,” Tannagda said.
The celebration was organized to include five different female speakers from around the community with different backgrounds, she said.
The first topic was the success and challenges of female students at CNM, which was led by Ann Lyn Hall, the Executive Director of CNM Connect, Tannagda said.
Lieutenant Claire McCarthy from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department spoke about women’s contribution to the New Mexico Police Force and how valuable it is, she said.
Health challenges of women in New Mexico, the socioeconomic roles of Native American women in the Zuni community, and the political contribution of women in Latin America were all topics that were spoken about by the many speakers that helped host the International Women’s Day Celebration, and it was of great benefit to all the people who were present, Tannagda said.
“It benefits people in so many ways in the sense that women contribute a lot to communities from raising children to economic development and political contribution. So by celebrating that, I think we are recognizing what women have contributed to every society and also looking at the challenges that women face, what are the current challenges and what future challenges might be,” Tannagda said.
Tannagda said that it was tough to organize the celebration because International Women’s Day is unrecognized by local and national government within the United States and it was ultimately up to her and other women involved to do it themselves.
Despite being unrecognized and unsupported by the state, Tannagda was able to round up a number of businesses from around the community that were willing to generously donate food and refreshments which ended up being more than enough for everyone that showed up and these businesses that helped were restaurants like Sahara, Quarter’s, Dion’s, Big Chow, and even refreshments provided by Tri-H gas station and M&M gas station, she said.
Criminal Justice major Maggie Gonzales was asked by Tannagda to introduce each of the speakers involved in the celebration and she also managed the Power Point presentations that went with each speaker’s presentation, and she was honored to do so because she believes recognizing the importance of women is extremely important, Gonzales said.
“It is important because it is about celebrating every woman in the world, every profession they are in, everything they do, and everything they can do. They need to know that they can fulfill their dreams, and it is inspiring for me because it is cool to hear all kinds of other stories from different women that are entirely different people,” she said.
Director of the Trio Department and Chapter President of CNM’s American Association for Women in Community Colleges Magda Martinez- Baca also helped Tannagda organize the Women’s Day celebration and believes this year’s celebration was a huge stepping stone for CNM, because it is the first time the college has ever celebrated International Women’s Day and she thinks it is the start of a new and important tradition here in New Mexico, Martinez-Baca said.
“We will be celebrating again. I think with CHSS taking the lead with the Dean’s support and with faculty and employees it will happen and our partnerships within the community will grow,” she said.
The celebration was a very good reminder of how important women are internationally but also a reminder of what can be done to make the world a better place in the terms of equality, because women with children are statistically the poorest people and with more recognition among New Mexico and the country as a whole, people can come together and work to make life better for all people, especially women and children, Martinez- Baca said.