The Women’s Studies program and ESU’s Women’s Center collaborated to host Warrior Women: Empowering Ourselves to Speak Up, a free event focusing on equality and justice for women, March 30 in Stroud Hall.
This panel discussion was the second to last of a series of programs at ESU dedicated to Women’s History Month. “We need to have these conversations between women of diverse backgrounds,” said event organizer Sharon Brown, coordinator of ESU’s Women’s Center, before introducing the panelists.
These panelists were selected to express their views on issues affecting women today: gender equality, reproductive justice, women leaders and the political process, economic justice, and becoming an activist.
Dr. Kimberly Adams, professor of political science, spoke about women and politics. She passionately and carefully reviewed the history of women in politics from the 1700s until now.
“Women should not mix promiscuously in the affairs of men,” Adams said as she explained the attitude women should take in professional situations and especially in government.
Women only received the right to vote in 1920, the Equal Rights Amendment has not yet been passed, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women has not yet been totally implemented, the Equal Pay Act is still being considered, as are the Fairness Paycheck Act and the Violence Against Women Act.
Professor of communication and women’s studies Dr. Andi McClanahan dedicated her discourse to women and activism. She spoke about what it means to be an activist.
“If you want to start an argument, that’s the first step for change,” said McClanahan. She also explained how activists are not always angry—they are often positive and optimistic.
“You’re never ‘too’ anything,” she said when describing how often she’d witnessed people talking about others in a negative way.
Jennifer Serowick, assistant to the provost and director of extended learning spoke about women and leadership. “Just be who you want to be,” said Serowick.
She explained how you don’t need to be born with leadership, you can learn it. She left the audience with two main lessons: to have empathy and be positive.
Selina Winchester, associate director of external affairs for the eastern region of Planned Parenthood, discussed women’s health and reproductive justice.
When explaining why women should vote, she said, “You should vote because your mother wanted her life to be better and your grandmother wanted her life to be better.”
She explained that women make 79 cents to every single dollar that men make, and that minority women make even less.
Winchester hopes that the Pregnancy Accommodations Bill and the Nursing Mothers Bill will be passed soon.
Bridget Marley, a senior public health major and an intern at the health education office, described how she struggled as the only girl on an ice hockey team growing up.
Brittany Kuchenbrod, a senior majoring in exercise science, talked about empowering girls and young women. She listed statistics such as how women give 90 percent of their income to their families while men only give 30 percent of theirs.
One of the most prominent themes of the evening was activism. Anyone can respond to the call to be an activist.
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