Through leading strong women in discussions of diversity and inclusion, the Ohio University Women’s Center hopes to continue offering an outlet for conversation.
The Women’s Center has been on this mission to support OHIO women since 2007.
“We hope that our programs, through the co-curricular guide, can help participants identify the programs that will be most helpful to them as they address their own goals on inclusivity,” Geneva Murray, director of the Women’s Center, said in an email. “We hope that folks attend a variety of programs, because our speakers all address a different perspective and viewpoint.”
In unique, pandemic times, their mission remains strong and unchanged. As the Women’s Center has recently released its full Spring 2021 calendar, they are pressing on and hosting positive and powerful events.
“We are elated to still offer engaging and interactive programming virtually,” MaryKathyrine Tran, assistant director of the Women’s Center, said in an email. “The virtual world can feel isolating, but the Women's Center is elated to support and ensure that while we may be physically distant, we are not socially distanced from each other.”
Besides circumstances implemented from COVID-19 in our society, issues of political and social justice have been raised for discussion immensely over this past year. These issues may have brought more attention to matters not as discussed previously.
The Women’s Center began February by highlighting World Hijab Day at OU. For their next event, they will be hosting SayHerName: Building Community to Support Women of Color at OHIO, on Feb. 17.
“This past year has demonstrated the importance of on-going conversations about social justice for those who maybe were not engaged before,” Murray said in an email. “And programs like SayHerName underscore the importance of an intersectional analysis that highlights how gender and race intersect.”
As monthly attendees of the Women’s Center’s events began to express the need for action and discussion on such issues, the SayHerName events began being pushed forward to get a conversation started. The center hosted a SayHerName program on Jan. 20 of last month. This will be the second, with another scheduled to follow on March 17.
“These gatherings are important because they are rooted in remembrance and action,” Murray said in an email. “We begin each gathering with a moment of silence and reflection, and we encourage attendees to become engaged with the African American Policy Forum, which created the powerful movement SayHerName.”
Thursday, Feb. 18, will be Thirsting for Knowledge Thursday. Presented by Habiba Mohamed Montasser Mohamed Abdelaal, the event is titled, “Women on the Frontline: The Anti-Sexual Violence Movement in Egypt Post Revolutions.”
“Our Thirsting for Knowledge Thursday sessions this academic year have been focused on what we can learn from leaders,” Tran said in an email. “Thus far, we've reflected on BlackLivesMatter, MeToo, and media coverage of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.”
As this is the Women’s Center’s first Thirsting for Knowledge Thursday of the year, they are looking forward to Abdelaal’s presentation.
“She co-founded and worked with several initiatives and grass-root organizations for women and girls across Egypt,” ohio.edu’s Thirsting for Knowledge Thursdays page said. “These community movements have continued to grow over ten years, creating safety, power, and solidarity for Egyptian women.”
The Women’s Center enjoys hosting women from all around the world to share their diverse stories, lives and lessons.
Feb. 23 is International Women’s Coffee Hour. This is an evening that the Women’s Center is looking forward to co-sponsoring with BSCPB, the Multicultural Center, and the AAUW Student Group. This month’s coffee hour topic is, “International Standards of Beauty.”
“Examining beauty standards and expectations from an intersectional lens will provide important dialogue about both similarities and differences across cultures and creating change within our communities,” Tran said in an email.
Co-sponsored by the same groups, Feb. 24, Joshunda Sanders will be presenting Fractured Freedom: Navigating Race, Identity, and Self-Promotion Online.
“We know that women, and particularly women of color, have inequitable access to virtual spaces,” Murray said in an email. “One only needs to look at how Leslie Jones, Kelly Marie Tran, or Anita Sarkeesian have been treated in online environments to witness trolling behavior and the impact that it has on one's personal and professional life.”
As a successful author and educator, Sanders has led a career shedding light on important matters of race, sex, identity and more.
“We are so excited to have Joshunda Sanders lead this important conversation,” Murray said in an email. “Joshunda's talk will allow us to explore this more deeply, including the impact of Zoombombing during COVID-19.”
The Women’s Center will host their final event of the month on Feb. 25.
“Stay Out of Your Own Way: How Gender Stereotypes Threaten Our Success is one of many workshops offered at the Women’s Center,” Tran said in an email. “We are elated to offer this workshop each semester as an option within the Ohio University Human Resources Personal Development Platform (PDP).”
Though this event is offered to faculty and staff through OU’s Human Resources PDP, others interested in participating are more than welcome to attend the event as well.
“The Stay Out of Your Own Way workshop helps participants assess the language that they use about themselves, consider stigma women leaders are faced with, and assess how language can impact our confidence level and the ways in which women have been socialized to undersell their skills,” Tran said in an email. “This interactive workshop allows participants to not only learn these skills, but practice them in order to utilize them best in their classes and workplaces.”
The Women’s Center is continually offering various programs so there is something comfortable and useful to everyone. Registration for specific events can be found on their Spring 2021 calendar.