Awards pump up girl power

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By Nicole Cohen

The drinks flowed as freely as the estrogen at the Ram in the Rye last Wednesday night as RyeSAC and the Women’s Centre Hosted the second annual Girls’ Night Out and Shero awards.

Over 50 women and a handful of men squeezed into the bar, which was decorated for the occasion with balloons, streamers and date-rape awareness coasters.

The event was created last year to mark the World March of Women in Ottawa. It has since evolved into a celebration of women who make a difference in the Ryerson community.

“Women on campus play a larger role than people acknowledge,” said Kali Tsimidis, community services co-ordinator and Shero award winner.

“This is our way of recognizing everything we do and how hard we work to do it.”

Female Ryerson staff, faculty, students and alumni who contribute to the quality of life on campus were nominated by peers and coworkers in September.

About 15 awards were given out last year. The number jumped to over 40 this year as every woman nominated received an award.

Winners ranged from professors to students to the women who work at RyeSAC and RyePRIDE.

“A lot of these women were being recognized for the first time on a university level,” said RyeSAC president and MC Odelia Bay.

Presenters read glowing remarks about the Sheros while the winners accepted a certificate, a yellow rose and a poster with a poem called “I fight like a girl.”

“A hero does something amazing,” said Bay. “We’ve put a twist on our hero.”

This year, Girls’ Night Out coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Women’s Centre.

Bay acknowledged the vital role the Women’s Centre plays on campus as an educational and safe space for female students, especially in times of crisis such as the recent U.S. attacks, Bay said.

“The Women’s Centre was the first place to open doors on campus for support in light of those events,” she said.

On hand to accept the first Shero award was Rizwana Jafri, who helped found the Women’s Centre.

“The Women’s Centre was established to provide a forum for women to take charge of issues, to struggle with sexual harassment, pay equity, body control and abortion,” said Jafri.

“There are issues still on women’s agendas,” she said. “I am pleased the centre is still standing.”

Proceeds from the raffle that raised $120 were donated to the Women’s Centre. Prizes were donated by HMV, the Canadian Federation of Students. and Molson’s.

Entertainment was provided by Ryerson folk-pop band Skarlet O’Hara and several other female singers.

“People had a lot of fun,” said Bay. “It’s a nice tradition.”


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