Lexington celebrates Women's Day

More than a dozen countries around the world commemorate International Women's Day as an official holiday on March 8, with some celebrating the event like Mother's Day.

The cluster of people in the University of Kentucky Young Library auditorium Sunday afternoon used the day to spread awareness of women's health as a social justice issue.

About 50 people gathered for the program that honored International Women's Day, which has been celebrated around the world since 1911. The celebration recognizes women for economic, political and social achievements.

The event at UK was sponsored by the Kentucky Health Justice Network, the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the University of Louisville's Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research.

Keynote speaker Loretta Ross, founder and national coordinator of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective, said women's issues touch the eight facets of human rights — civil, political, economic, social, cultural, environmental, developmental and sexual rights. She said it is important to understand everything that makes up basic rights.

"It is very hard to fight for the rights you don't know you have," she said.

Gabriela Alcalde, state director for the Kentucky Health Justice Network, said events like this help rights advocates share ideas and learn more about one another.

"I think it's very important to celebrate, to honor and to meet and talk with each other about the issues that matter," she said.