Raising a Child Gender Neutral

By Adriana Suarez

This semester, I am emerging into my minor by taking an introduction to sociology. The class has been everything I imagined, filled with much discussion and information about social structures and more. It has taught me so much about everyone’s place in society and our differing perspectives of the world in such a few short class periods.

One of the most fascinating stories I heard was on a podcast about a family who decided to raise their children gender neutral. I feel that raising a child this way really changes the way that you see the world and it shows how gender is simply a structure that society has placed on everybody. From the moment that we are conceived, many people ask, “What is it?” expecting the answer to be a boy or a girl. This tells them which adjectives to call the baby by and which gift to buy for them.

Before discussing this podcast in class, I didn’t realize how big of a deal gender is as a social institution in our society. There are obvious things placed in our day to day lives that separate gender, like appearance, restrooms, and clothes. Gender defines how people pick out clothes; girls tend to be gifted the color pink while boys are gifted the color blue. Even the material that clothes are made of reflects on gender, as girls’ clothes tend to be made from soft materials such as silk and boys’ are made from cotton. Boys are expected to play rough, so their clothes need to be able to withstand such destruction, while girls aren’t necessarily supposed to be involved in such activities. This goes to show how clothes tend to restrict girls into what they can and can’t do.

That’s just a little insight to the discussion we had in class, but if you would like to listen to the podcast in its entirety and hear more in-depth about the family and the outcomes, the link is as follows.

https://n.pr/2UXXWN3

Additionally, I want to acknowledge this as my last post for the UMKC Women’s Center. I appreciate all that I have learned here and hope to use it as I move forward. Thank you all!

 

Tampon Tax

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Adriana Suarez

Why are menstrual hygiene products taxed?

Why are they even being sold instead of being provided free?

Menstruation is not a choice. Menstruation products are in fact a necessity for ALL women.

As a female, I have never had a choice about if I wanted my period. When the time came, I had to be ready for the time of the month to come every single month for the rest of my life. There is nothing I can naturally do to prevent this from happening.

As of July 2019, “menstrual products are subject to sales taxes in 35 states” (As reported by Karen Zraick). Many founders of supporting organizations, including LOLA and Period Equity, support the cause of eliminating the ‘tampon tax.’ According to The New York Times, Canada, Malaysia, India, and Australia have “nixed” the tax. So that raises the question, why hasn’t the United States eliminated the tax as well?

What many states have in question is affordability. Can they afford to eliminate the sales tax? In California alone, the expense of eliminating the tax would be $76 million per year. Other states, like Georgia “allocated funds to provide free menstrual products in schools and community centers in low-income areas” (Zraick).

This debate has caused a Tampon Tax Protest. Any woman can participate in 4 easy steps, as follows.

  1. Buy the product and save your receipt.
  2. Claim for a refund under the grounds of being unconstitutional.
  3. Mail form and receipt to state’s Department of Revenue.
  4. Post about the Tampon Tax Protest through spreading the word.

More information can also be found on the Tax Free. Period. website.

Work Study Student Reflects on Her Time at the Women’s Center

By Adriana Suarez

Working at the Women’s Center for my first semester in college has been an eye opening experience! I have enjoyed the Women’s Center for multiple reasons. The women’s center has allowed me to have the opportunity to be a little more open minded in considering events in not only my own life but in the life of others. In short, the women’s center cultured me. Working at the women’s center, I have worked with a variety of different personalities that I hold closely to my heart. Honestly, the people I worked with have been amazing, understanding, and helpful. The experiences I had at the women’s center opened my mind to see problems

I didn’t consider beforehand. I never knew so many women in our area are in need of the shelters. I have been fortunate to be able to help some of those women by providing them with resources the women’s center offers. Lastly, I have had an amazing time attending the events that the Women’s Center holds for UMKC’s students. The programs have been as small as the Roo up event and as big as the Women who lead.

I feel like from each of these events, I have not only helped make an impact on our campus but I have also become an informed student. The events we hold are a great experience and I hope more people come out to attend in the next semester! I feel as though I am making a difference with each event that I work because I do see the impact it has on UMKC community whether we reach a few students or we reach thirty. Lastly, the work environment that the women’s center has, definitely has taught me about work ethic. This position has definitely been a new experience to me and it has provided me great opportunity for growth and I have learned skills that I can implement in future jobs but will also continue to grow as I stay here longer.

Japanese Women Protest Sexist Ban On Wearing Glasses At Work

By Adriana Suarez

In Japan, there has been much backlash from women in the workplace surrounding their appearance. A part of the Japanese culture is the treatment of women. According to a Georegetown University blog post, “The ideal woman in Japan .. on one hand is the loving housewife but on the opposite it is the beautiful, smart, youthful girl.” Women in Japanese society have been objectified between the 1980s and 90s.

This women specific problem is only part of the reason why Japanese women struggle. The societal norms that have been passed down from generations has formed a normalization of the image of women in society today. This, of course, varies from culture to culture because of the variety of changes in daily life as well as cultural changes that we in the United States view differently.

It has become a large controversy over social media, Where on Twitter the hashtag #メガネ禁止 which in English translates to #GlassesBan. It’s important to raise awareness about this topic that began at the start of the month in November.

The attention that this ban has received has also brought awareness to other restrictions within the corporate dress code within the Japanes culture. For example, there has also been a ban against wearing high heels at the work place and ironically there has also been a requirement in some companies to wear make-up. Campaigners have submitted a petition to the government that call for legislation to declare harassment policies that make up for such treatment towards women in the workplace.

Empowering Women Through Friendship Bridge

By  Adriana Suarez

Friendship Bridge is a nonprofit that “creates opportunities that empower woman in Guatemala.” I can see the great impact they have made because they show very cultured information in their reports and include many photos and stories of the woman that they have helped. Their 2018 Annual Report shows the impact they have made throughout the Guatemalan community, which includes a client continuum that places women in three categories: leaders, entrepreneurs, or dreamers. They also assist in loan products, plus services, and holding program around artisan, agriculture, health, and family planning.

Women supported in these programs aren’t just single women, but single mothers who do not have access to the correct resources. Their stories not only speak on how the programs have helped them individually, but also how the program’s support impacted their families and communities. Many of the women are artisans, and contribute to the community with businesses or by selling hand-woven products. It’s important these women are educated about loans so they aren’t tricked into any unwanted dent later on.

I support the organization because they help Hispanic cultured woman in Guatemala who are in need. I feel it’s very important that women’s organizations in other countries exist. According to their website, “59 percent of the population in Guatemala live in poverty and over 60 percent of indigenous Guatemalan women are illiterate.” The Friendship Bridge organization works primarily in the rural areas where the rate of poverty is highest and work to create a change with the women they work with. Friendship Bridge is supported by many organizations and sponsors such as Power Trust, The Green Fund, and Women’s Worldwide Web. Many more are listed on their website.

If you’re interested, you can find a way to give back to those women of need in Guatemala by visiting their page!

Girls In KC STEM

By Adriana Suarez

According to KC Stem Alliance and a government report, “in 2015 women filled 47 percent of all U.S. jobs but occupied only 24 percent of STEM jobs.” In a world where males dominate in STEM fields, women can often feel of less importance and wouldn’t want to compete with that. KC STEM Alliance is a not-for-profit network of organizations working to inspire interest in STEM fields within the greater Kansas City region. It was created in 2011 through funding from Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

One of the many projects they hold to promote their mission is Girls in Tech. Girls in Tech was created to motivate and encourage women to engage in Science, Tech, Engineering and Mathematical career fields. The Stem Alliance states how they’re encouraging this through hands-on experience, connection with mentors, and social media awareness. The Girls in Tech event truly inspires students to code and get involved in the technology field. The program took off in 2015 with the help of sponsorships by organizations such as, Skillbuilders Fund, the Women’s Foundation, and Cerner!

The partners of KC STEM Alliance also encourage girls through other programs in the month of December such as the Hour of Code. In fact, there is actually a need for volunteers for the Girls in Tech KC Hour of code this year on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. It will run from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 4825 Troost Ave., Suite 108 Kansas City, MO 64110.

Any UMKC students, alumni and SCE friends & supporters are welcome to volunteer.

Period. The Movement

By Adriana Suarez

Period. The Movement is an organization founded in 2014, by two 16-year old high school students with a passion for periods. Their mission is to end period poverty and stigma through service, education, and advocacy. The organization is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a nationwide network of over 400 chapters serving local communities. The organization provides service through 3 subcategories: Pads & Tampons, Period Packs, and Menstrual Cups. The organization partners with companies such as TAMPAX Cup, AUNT flow, L’ORÉAL, and Nike to name a few.

The first time I had my period was in the fifth grade, in elementary school. This is a shocking fact because that is when most girls begin. Therefore, the bathrooms are not stocked with the products needed. My first period was thankfully in the privacy of my own home. Yet, the days I begin a new cycle are unexpected and can sneak up on me. Sometimes I would have to leave the bathroom to embarrassingly whisper to my friends (girls) asking them if they had anything in their bookbags for two reasons. The first being there would not be any kind of pad/tampon dispenser in the restrooms, or secondly, because there was a dispenser but it was either empty, or you had to pay a quarter which would not have just been laying around in my pocket.

I personally feel like it would be great to start a chapter here on campus to provide support for all women. It is important for young generations to continue being involved in this movement. It shows a passion for what we believe in. If they can do it, it is possible to start a campus wide movement. If it gains successes, there can be possibilities for other chapters to open up in the community, other universities and in middle and high schools in the area.

Aspiring Latina Professional Joins The Women’s Center

By Adriana Suarez 

Hi, my name is Adriana Suarez. I am a freshman here at UMKC in the Undecided or Exploratory Program. I graduated from Sumner Academy of Arts & Sciences in Kansas City, Kansas. I am interested in a major with the sociology department as well a minor in Spanish, to maintain connection to my roots; being a young Latina professional. In the future, I hope to work in the non-profit sector. I decided to join the Women’s Center because I love culture and being around others.

While also being a member of the Latino Student Union, I hope to gain more involvement on campus through the Women’s Center. One of my goals is to become immersed in the culture at UMKC I love doing things to help others, and I have many interests including music and arts.

This last summer, I interned for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City as an Activities Director. I worked on a team, creating lesson plans and teaching students grade 4- 6 in the KC Metro area. This experience led me to grow in both my personal and professional life. I loved working with the kids and being able to bring a smile to their faces.