‘Lunch and Learn’ event to inspire discussions for Women’s History Month

Multicultural affairs graduate apprentice Sierra Valdivia said she believes open discussion is beneficial to everyone and that anyone can come away from Lunch and Learn with new perspectives. Photo credit: Courtesy Photo

In honor of Women’s History Month, the women’s and gender studies department and department of multicultural affairs are hosting a Lunch and Learn at 12:30 p.m. today in the Lipscomb Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center.

At the Lunch and Learn, participants will watch a TED Talk titled “Three Lessons on Success from an Arab Businesswomen” by Leila Hoteit. After the video, there will be small roundtable discussions led by Dr. Lisa Shaver, director of the women’s and gender studies department.

“We hope this is a casual way of getting students and faculty to talk about women and gender issues,” Shaver said. “It is important to be educated, but it is also important to celebrate the accomplishments women have achieved.”

Shaver said she hopes students will attend with an open mind.

“Women were absent in so many areas of study for so long,” Shaver said. “We want to recognize the women that were ignored for so long but also recognize how far we still have to go for equality.”

Shaver said students are sometimes surprised to learn that employment ads in the ‘70s were gender specific, and through the ‘70s and ‘80s some schools only allowed women to study certain subjects.

“We are fortunate to have come such a long way, but students now should know what their mothers and grandmothers went through not so long ago,” Shaver said.

Shaver said there is still a lot of work to be done toward equality globally and within the United States. In regardto America, she specifically mentioned the wage gap, the low percentage of women in Congress and that women are still discouraged from studying certain subjects.

Shaver said she hopes men and women of all cultural backgrounds will attend the event and engage in dialogue.

Multicultural affairs graduate apprentice Sierra Valdivia said she believes open discussion is beneficial to everyone and that anyone can come away from Lunch and Learn with new perspectives.

“We believe dialogue is one of the best ways to explore any topic because it allows individuals to share their stories and experiences with one another,” Valdivia said. “Since we will be watching a TED Talk, we realize that each person will bring their own insight to the table and encourage that as we will be reflecting on how female roles differ in various cultural environments and professions.”

Valdivia said she believes it is important for everyone, regardless of gender or cultural identity, to recognize Women’s History Month.

“If you look at history, women have come a long way to give other women the freedom and rights we have today,” Valdivia said. “I think it’s essential to be aware of the important figures in history but also the current leaders in our society who are impacting the world on a day-to-day basis in their roles to create a better future.”

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