According to a 2018 study from WalletHub, Utah placed 50th as the best states for women’s equality in the United States, ranking dead last in many of the study’s economic, political and educational metrics. Among the top placing were states such as New York and California, where the U.S. National Committee for UN Women have established chapters actively fighting for issues of equality.
Enter Victoria Baird, who noticed in 2012 that there were no such organizations actively fighting for gender equality in “landlocked” states that lack massive metropolitan areas. By October 2013, she established the Utah Chapter of the USNC for UN Women and continues to serve as its president. Now celebrating their fifth anniversary, the chapter has hosted many fundraising events from Paint Nites to HeForShe galas.
Now, the Utah Chapter is holding their first fundraising walk. The Walk to End Violence Against Women carries the theme that “Women Are Superheroes,” featuring ten local artists uniting with the USNC’s fight towards equality. Those attending the event will participate in two laps around Liberty Park and are encouraged to dress as an empowering female figure and create their own posters with messages of solidarity.
Feminist artist Jann Haworth is the event’s speaker, and pieces of her notable “Work In Progress” mural will be on display. Born out of the idea to promote those who are a “catalyst for change,” this art piece represents pioneering women in many fields. As USNC intern Sara Potts says about the mural’s message, “We [as women] have diverse breadths of passion as artists, astronauts, politicians or teachers. We are go-getters and we aren’t going to let anything stop us.”
It comes back to the message of this event: uniting people of all walks of life behind the efforts of changing our culture. The money raised will benefit the work of the UN Women, including passing CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), which was adopted by the UN in 1979 but remains unratified by the United States, placing the U.S. in the position of countries like Iran and Sudan on gender equality.
This is why the USNC for UN Women has found a home in the Beehive state. The culture surrounding gender needs to change here: not just in New York or in California. Those involved in the organization are passionate about their work in their community. “If Utah can do it, everyone can!” says Potts.
The Walk to End Violence Against Women is taking place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10 in Liberty Park. Tickets are available through Eventbrite. The event will feature art vendors (who are donating a portion of their proceeds to the USNC for UN Women), words from artist Jann Haworth, two laps around the park and a small gift from the USNC for UN Women Utah Chapter. More information can be found on their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages.