Photo/IllutrationA student activist on Oct. 10 with a cup of pink lemonade to mark the United Nations-designated International Day of the Girl in Yokohama. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)

Meiji Gakuin University students raised glasses of pink lemonade in honor of International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11 to encourage thoughts about women’s and girls’ rights at home and abroad.

The university, headquartered in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, is selling the feminine refreshment during its own international girls’ week of Oct. 8-12 to raise funds for a project that aims to increase wages of ethnic minority women in Bangladesh.

“In Japan, women’s positions and rights are supposed to be more secured than those of developing countries, but we still feel that biased views toward women and gender disparities remain,” said Yoshie Taguchi, 20, a sophomore student in political science who puts in time at the university’s Volunteer Center where the week’s events were conceived.

Taguchi and other volunteers are selling the colorful beverage at a cafe at the Yokohama campus during lunch breaks.

Numerous students have visited the cafe, and about 120 cups of lemonade with an illustrated label and a message card attached had sold out by around noon on Oct. 10.

The center intends to donate a portion of the sales to the Bangladesh project through an international nongovernmental organization.

Sophomore Kota Morishita, 20, said, “Men are also interested in it, and we succeeded in getting many students involved.”

Taguchi added, “From a different perspective, men will also suffer from the biased view (that they should be a certain way) ‘Because you are a man.’ We would like to call for men and women to think about the issue as a result of the students’ ideas.”