Even though International Women’s Day was officially to be celebrated today, Madera got an early jump on its observance with a morning of speeches, dancing, and art on Saturday morning.
The festivities, held at the Pan-American Community Center, celebrated women worldwide, as well as their impacts.
The Women’s International Day Committee, along with several partnering organizations, organized the event, which had previously been at the Madera County Library.
“Our goal is to empower women, and to recognize the strength and potential of women,” said committee member Moira Farrelly. “We would like to trigger the movement throughout the world, and we have many confident women in this organization.”
The morning was then filled with speeches in both English and Spanish, and several performing arts, martial arts, and dance presentations, along with the results of a coloring contest, for which the theme chosen was “Be Bold for Change.”
“Everybody came here with different life experiences,” said keynote speaker Betty Scalise, “different backgrounds, different opinions, different ways of looking at life. Most of us here have two things in common — number one; most of the people in the room today are female.”
Scalise, a retired administrator with the Madera Unified School District, and the granddaughter of Italian and Hungarian immigrants, used her time onstage to promote the Equal Rights Amendment, which was the main focus of her speech.
“And the other thing I’m sad to tell you we have in common is that not one of us, not one female, enjoys equal protection under the Constitution of the United States. Not one of us,” Scalise said. “Because the United States Constitution does not refer to women, and we have no Equal Rights Amendment in this country.”
Pamphlets for the Equal Rights Amendment, the stated goal of which is to give women equal protection in the Constitution, were then handed out. The event was then concluded with more music and dancing, a fashion show, and the closing remarks.