In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at AU held a screening of “Lilya 4-Ever,” a story of a Russian teen who gets caught in rape and prostitution.
The movie follows Lilya, a 16-year-old girl whose mother moves to the United
States and abandons her in Russia with her aunt. Her aunt leaves her and Lilya becomes a prostitute to make money to leave the Russian village she lives in.
“I saw the movie at the State Department a few years ago and it was one of the most compelling things I have ever seen,” said Beatrix Siman Zakhari, a professor in the Washington Semester Program who has published a chapter in the book “Human Trafficking and Transnational Crime.”
Professor Mary Gray moderated a panel discussion on sex trafficking following the movie. The panel members included Vidya Smarasinghe, associate professor in the School of International Service, Zakhari and Lucinda Peach, interim director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program.
Samarasinghe spoke about the issues of sex trafficking, especially in India. “I visited Bombay and have seen the red-light district,” Samarasinghe said. “I feel that this is something that needs to be looked at.”
International Women’s Day was established in 1909 as a way to honor ordinary women as history-makers, Peach said.
Schools now teach women’s history in the month of March, according to Peach.
The theme of women’s history month is “Women Change America.”
International Women’s Day is now celebrated on March 8 and is commemorated by the United Nations.
“Some countries even designate the day as a national holiday,” Peach said.
AU will celebrate women’s history month with an exhibit in Bender Library.
“The exhibit will include a number of Nobel laureates and distinguished women in the math and science field,” Peach said. “One of the main goals of women’s history month is to show others the number of accomplishments women have made in math and science careers.”