Feminism event to explore perspectives on gender and race equity

Mar. 14, 2016

Rachel Librach
rlibrach@uccs.edu

Feminism is sometimes portrayed as a radical, sexist movement that is only focused on women’s rights. Respect on Campus hopes to show that feminism is more than what it’s mistaken for.

Hosted by ROC, “The F Word: Feminism & Why We Need It” will be held on March 16 at 7 p.m. in Berger Hall. The event is in honor of Women’s History Month and aims to create meaningful dialogue between panelists and UCCS students.

This event will help foster discussion to enlighten students about feminism and will drag many controversial and difficult issues into light, according to ROC outreach and awareness coordinator, student Ethan Wade.

“There’s been this taboo that’s built up around feminism and how gender equality can really lead to ending a lot of issues, including sexual violence, that plague our community,” said Wade.

ROC focuses on how building gender equity can solve some of feminism’s pertinent issues, according to Wade.

“I think it’s easy for people to push issues that are hard to talk about to the back of their minds. We want to get awareness out and expand people’s perspectives.”

According to Andrea Herrera, director of the women’s and ethnic studies program, gender equity and gender equality are two different terms.

“The assumption with gender equality is that we are all the same and have all the same needs. Of course that’s not true. Equity implies that we’re all different and have different needs and thus we all don’t need the same things, but we should all be given the same respect.”

Herrera defined feminism as not only expressing women’s equity but that of men and people from all different races, backgrounds and cultures.

Herrera said she hopes the event will educate students on feminism and perhaps lead students to find out that they themselves may be feminists, even if they didn’t know it.

“Students who learn the broader definition of feminism start to see themselves as feminists, even the men. Most people I know strive toward this issue of equity and equitable human rights.”

“If you strive for that, if you think that’s a good thing, then you are probably a feminist,” said Herrera.

This year’s panelists include communication instructor Chris Bell, president of the Colorado, Wyoming and Montana chapter of the NAACP Rosemary Harris-Lytle, senior vice president of engagement at the Pikes Peak United Way Beth Hall Roalstad, and Carrie Baatz from the Independence Center in Colorado Springs.

Herrera was a panelist last year and was pleased with the student involvement intellectual conversations.

“People came not having a clue of what feminism was, and we were able to have very complex conversations,” she said. “The way the event is structured makes it very inclusive, and people are able to share different perspectives, have genuine dialogue and listen and respond to each other.”