Closing the gender gap: UTRGV hosts annual International Women’s Day celebration

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Brownsville campus held an International Women’s Day celebration on Thursday where Sylvia Robles was recognized for her hard work and dedication.

The celebration was hosted by the International Admissions and Student Services at UTRGV and its purpose was to recognize all the women’s hard work and achievement throughout generations.

“It is very important that we, as women, continue to support each other so that we can continue to climb on this race. Mutual support makes us stronger, it makes us go further, so wise women are there to support not divide each other,” Samantha Lopez, director of International Admissions and Student Services, said. “Women are characterized for being strong, for being perseverant, and for continuing to fight for their rights.”

During the celebration, Robles was recognized with flowers, books and other special gifts from attendees and the university as a way of thanking her for her support to small businesses and women. Robles teaches several business classes at the university such as foundations of entrepreneurship and international marketing.

In her speech, Robles talked about the importance of gender equality and challenging stereotypes.

“Collectively, we can make change happen. Collectively, we can help each other to create a gender equal world. We can all choose to be #EachforEqual. Collective action and shared responsibility for driving a gender equal world are key because an equal world is an enabled world,” she said. “We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.”

Robles said equality is not a women’s issue and that equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive. She said she has experienced so many struggles for being a woman but it is important to continue working and to support other women.

“So let’s build a gender-equal world. Equality is not a women’s issue, it’s everyone’s issue. Gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive, a gender equal world can be healthier, wealthier and happier, so what’s not great about that?” she said. “Women’s equality can’t wait. It’s going to take everyone to think and be inclusive — all the time, everywhere. Do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women everywhere.”

Orelia Herrera, a faculty member with the College of Health Professions, said she nominated Robles to receive this award because it is important to celebrate young and ambitious women who are making a big impact.

“It’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day because we’re taking the time to recognize the hard work and achievements women have had throughout the years,” Herrera said. “We need to recognize the young women who are doing all these things like she does. I nominated her because she is young, dedicated and has a lot of passion to support people.”