The Diversity Dialogues took place Tuesday, discussing women in today’s world, one of the first meetings in a series sponsored by The Office for Inclusive Excellence (OIE).
The Diversity Dialogues topic, “Women in Today’s World,” discussed prominent issues that women believe they face today and how confidence is important to a woman.
Keisha Booker, the assistant director of multicultural development, and Kemoni Farmer, a graduate assistant for OIE, facilitated the discussion.
Booker said that the goal of the Diversity Dialogues is to work towards a more inclusive campus.
“[We] wanted to start the conversation on something that is important to me and how I identify, but to open the doors on equality on levels, how all forms of women equality should be the same on all levels,” Booker said.
The 27 participants in the Zoom discussion were separated in breakout rooms to discuss what they believed where some of the most important issues facing women today.
Occurring themes from the breakout rooms included body image, planned parenthood and reproductive rights.
“People post pictures all the time, and you compare yourself or other people to compare you,” Jade Zuchowski said, a participant in the discussion.
A women’s control over their own body was another prominent topic discussed in the breakout groups.
Samantha Cox, a freshman participant, said that the standards for women and their sexuality vary from the standards with men, especially regarding multiple partners.
“You see that women are shamed for body counts where men are praised,” Cox said.
The idea of a double standard in society was something that the participants, largely women, agreed with.
Multiple students said that women have to act differently while leaving work, or walking in a parking lot to stay safe.
“Women at our age do different things than men do because of their surroundings,” said Gabriella Deloco, a freshman.
The idea that the word feminist has a powerful connotation where females think they are superior is something that Raelyn Horne, a freshman, brought up. However, she said that the true definition is that women are equal.
Cox said that this idea plays into the societal standard for women and how some of it is demonized in the media.
After the initial discussion, Booker then shared an article from International Women’s Day in 2019 where prominent women talked about what they believed to be the biggest problems for women.
This list was then compared to the lists that students made in their breakout groups. Students found that the article discussed more issues in motherhood and caregiving.
However, the idea of trauma centered feminism was discussed in the article. Its focus is not equality with men, but rather protection from them.
“Often times we are presented as the damsel in distress,” Booker said.
The idea that woman need a man to protect them is something that Booker said had become engaged in women.
Gabriella McAdams agreed and added more about the focus of risk on women.
“If you focus on risk of women becoming a victim, you are normalizing the idea to be afraid,” McAdams said.
Similar to the general discussion of what main issues women are facing today, Booker asked what hinders a women’s access and opportunity.
Confidence was a largely attributed characteristic discussed that influenced a women’s access and opportunity.
McAdams said that she would be more likely to believe someone who speaks with confidence, and Booker said that sometimes her persona may influence her access and opportunity.
“I sometimes find myself in places where men will think that what I am saying or bringing is too much and that threat to them is sometimes what limits them authoring that opportunity if it is something they control,” Booker said.
Participants said that they enjoyed the discussion, which gave them the opportunity to share their opinions on an important topic.
The next Diversity Dialogue will be held Sept. 22 on Zoom, discussing Privilege in Oppression. Information and Zoom ID can be found on Core.