This year's International Women's Day (IWD) is all about parity: social, economic, cultural and political parity for women across the world. To honor it, I wish we could all do what Emma Watson, my co-star from The Bling Ring, is doing - take a year off from work to study feminism. Since this is not possible for all of us, one way to join in is to follow along with Emma’s bookclub. I started to engage with feminist texts last year, and right now on my shelf at school I have "The Feminine Mystique," "The Purity Myth" and "The Beauty Myth." All lined up to read. Another concrete way to better understand the issues and make a difference for a college student like me is to attend club meetings of different female-focused groups on campus, or to volunteer at a women’s shelter.
For me personally, on this IWD I am going to go support my female friends in the arts. Women know we are all in this together, and providing emotional support and having each other’s backs helps us all succeed. I just took the IWD pledge to "help women and girls achieve their ambitions," available on the IWD website, and will honor it by supporting my fellow female artists at my school, Northwestern University.
Photo by Katie Chang of Drew Tanabe, Michaela Kastelman, Caroline Spikner and
Valeria Rosero in tech for "Alien" at NU
Specifically, my friend Samantha is directing a dance/film/performance art show called "Alien" that is in "tech" this week. If you've never worked in theater before, "tech" is the week before the show where all technical elements of the performance are hammered out. It often involves long, arduous hours and more than one or two unanticipated problems. Despite this, I pledge to be there until the wee hours of the morning, helping director Samantha, choreographer Caroline and stage manager Sofia make "Alien" the best show it can be. Why? Because I believe in these women. I believe in their creativity, their determination and their art. I believe that they deserve a space at my university to showcase their accomplishments, and I am committed to helping them along the way. So at midnight on IWD, when I'm dreaming of bed but instead I am at tech, talking to the lighting designer or tracking down props, I'll remember the IWD pledge. I'll push the longing thoughts of sleep into the back of my mind, and I'll double-down to help my fellow female creators produce this amazing piece of experimental theater for the Northwestern community.
I hope that other women take the pledge for International Women's Day. There are other pledge options besides the one I've chosen. You can choose to "challenge conscious and unconscious bias," "call for gender-balanced leadership," "value women and men's contributions equally," or "create inclusive, flexible cultures." Whichever one you choose, know that by taking the pledge you are supporting not only the women in your life, but women all over the world as we continue to call for parity across many different categories.
Katie Chang is an actress, known for her roles in Anesthesia, The Bling Ring, A Birder's Guide to Everything, and The Outskirts, and a college student at Northeastern University - and Catrinka's very first brand ambassador.