By Andrew Hebert–

From Flamenco dancing to Quran recitations, the crowd in the Red Barn witnessed a showcase of just how diverse and talented the women of the U of L community are.

March 8th was recognized around the world as International Women’s Day, and the U of L campus took part in the celebration with a cultural event. The fourth Annual IWD Cultural Awareness Event featured speeches and performances from women representing cultures all over the world.

The event brought many acts, and offered the guests a range of cuisine that featured pasta, chips, queso and Indian naan bread. The first act starred Traci Kruer, who belly danced in an elegant purple dress. After that, Flamenco Louisville – a music and dance group that perform the Flamenco style of southern Spain – performed their routine. Formed when Spain was under Muslim rule, Flamenco music features wavy dresses, beautiful vocals and acoustic guitar.

Next was an Arabic love song performed by two U of L students. Following that, a team of dancers called the “Mexican Lindo” performed Mexican dances. The group was composed of four older women moving to a traditional Mexican dance in red and green dresses, while a group of five young girls danced to a Mexican pop song.

The Cardinal Bhangra dance team came out to an Indian remix of Drake’s “Back 2 Back.” The team, consisting of three women and two men, was bouncing all over the stage, jumping and dancing to pop songs with an Indian twist. There was even a recitation from the Quran by a young Muslim girl.

The event also featured a panel of women who fielded questions regarding stereotypes and difficulties they have faced. Kayla Smith, a participant in the event, had a lot to say on the prejudices she has been exposed to.

“Being mixed, people would attempt to identify things with my separate backgrounds… When I received a scholarship here, one friend told me, ‘See Kayla, I always knew you were white,'” Smith said.

The panel featured a mixed woman, a black woman, a Latina and a lesbian woman. They discussed how being stereotyped against hurts minorities, especially minority women.

“Internalizing stereotypes can be a big problem for minorities, because we start to believe what everybody tells us, even if it’s wrong,” Smith said.

“We have so many issues: equality, equal pay, violence against women. Students wanted to have this as a way to celebrate women as a whole,” Jameica Jones said. Jones serves as the program coordinator for the Women’s Center on campus.

Photos by Ali Davis / The Louisville Cardinal