Lee celebrates International Women's Day

Students, staff and event attendees gathered in the Science and Math Complex in order to hear presented research to celebrate International Women's Day on Wednesday, March 18.

Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Ana Alves was inspired to start the event in order to give students the opportunity to become involved in increased awareness for women's issues.

'We want to increase awareness of gender equality,' Alves said. 'Celebrations in the past four years have only occurred in chapel [where] they bring in great speakers and students can hear their views. Mary Mathias in Tuesday's liturgical chapel service was perfect, but I think it's important for students to be involved in the process.'

The participants for this event were chosen from across the disciplines with presentations focused on women's issues in different situations, from problems of perception to discrimination of female artists.

Lauren Elliott, a presenter for the event surveyed students at Lee about their perceptions on women's rights.

Those surveyed were presented with a series of 10 statements corresponding to traditionally patriarchal views of relations between men and women. The statements included, "when a women is raped, she usually did something careless to put herself in that situation," or "there are times when a woman deserves to be beaten."

Only 6.2 percent of students strongly disagreed with all of these types of statements.

'Coming across answers from female respondents that were particularly demeaning to women was disconcerting,' Elliott said. 'I think it's an important event like this happened because people are uninformed.'

Findings where women are misrepresented were found across the presentations. Kelly Morrison and Bailey Brents, who presented on 'Understanding the Gender Gap in American Political Science,' found that for every three male professors there is one female professor in the top ten political science programs.

Though many presentations informed attendees about issues such as discrimination and inequality, others celebrated women and their accomplishments across generations.

One group of students showcased influential women in the theatre, while Another group presented 'Capturing Mary in the Arts: Woman, Mother, Role Model,' where the depictions of Mary Magdalene were discussed.

Junior Sara Robertson, said she found the information at the event interesting and informative.

'I thought that the event was good for being the first one,' Robertson said. 'I wish that there would have been more of a response from students [in order for the event to] make a bigger [impact].'

Ladies of Lee closed the event with a spiritual hymn.

'So God created mankind in his own image. In the image of God, He created them: male and female he created them. ' Genesis 1:27-28'

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