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Whitefish Women Gather To Celebrate International Women's Day

On the edge of City Beach on Whitefish Lake, people — mostly women — dressed in red huddled in a circle to share stories of what it’s like being a woman in today’s America.
On the edge of City Beach on Whitefish Lake, people — mostly women — dressed in red huddled in a circle to share stories of what it’s like being a woman in today’s America. ";s:3:"u

If you happened to be looking at the Whitefish Lake web cam last night, you may have seen a patch of red in the fading sunlight from the Whitefish Big Sky Rising First International Women’s Day celebration.

On the edge of City Beach on Whitefish Lake, 30 people — mostly women — dressed in red huddled in a circle to share stories of what it’s like being a woman in today’s America. They chatted and sang songs over a biting wind in front of the tourist-oriented webcam operated by Explore Whitefish, with the idea of making their symbolic show of solidarity more visible, if fleeting.

"I recognize a lot of these girls. They're on committees, and commissions. They serve on boards … they serve on home owners association, they're very active," says Sandie Carpenter.

Carpenter, who is from Whitefish, is dressed in red from her hat to her boots. She says this is the first time she’s recognized the international holiday.

"That's one of the main reasons I came out, to support my girl friends, my women friends," Carpenter says.

Elsewhere in the country, women went on strike and refrained from making purchases to prove their collective buying power, in what organizers called, “A Day Without Women.” In Whitefish, they wore red as a sign of power, love and sacrifice.

Here’s Joan Vetter Ehrenberg with Big Sky Rising’s Flathead Valley chapter:

"If we don't share our stories, make them real, carry them to our legislators, and insist that they carry our values, we have a broken democracy."

Ehrenberg says it’s unfortunate that three bills addressing pay equity and transparency, and paid maternity leave were tabled in the first half of the legislative session, but takes heart in the number of women in the state legislature, that’s been trending upward in the past decade.

Big Sky Rising held sister events across the state Wednesday. Businesses in Whitefish remained open, and many did not see a downtick in customers.

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