By Courtney Neaveill

If you haven’t already heard, on Friday, April 20th – we at the UMKC Women’s Center are celebrating our 40th Anniversary! Starting at 7pm at the River Market Event space we will begin the anniversary festivities. Savor delicious hors d’oeuvres and drinks, bid on incredible items at the silent auction, and celebrate to the music of the Barclay Martin Ensemble, who will premiere a song written in honor of the 40th anniversary. [youtube][/youtube]

Tickets for students are available for purchase at a bargain rate of $20 per person. (Regular tickets cost $65.) We don’t want everyone showing up in their favorite little black dress for the evening or a plain old shirt and tie – we want to see your creative side! That’s why the dress code for the evening has been deemed “creative cocktail”. Be innovative with your outfit!

Come out and mingle with UMKC students and faculty, Kansas City community members, and local artists &  musicians! Friday night’s UMKC Women’s Center 40th Anniversary Gala will be a night that won’t soon be forgotten! We would love to have you celebrate with us!


 Click HERE to purchase tickets for the event!

Join us to celebrate 40 years of telling our stories with the UMKC Women’s Center!

For more information about the UMKC Women’s Center and our upcoming events please visit our website: or call us at (816) 235-1638


April 17th Is Equal Pay Day

By Carolina Costa


[Pictured above: Women Pressers on Strike for Higher Wages. Kheel Center, Cornell University: Ithaca, New York]

Although enforcement of the Equal Pay Act as well as other civil rights laws such as Title VII have helped to narrow the wage gap, significant disparities among men and women remain which need to be addressed. 1 Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages.

Census statistics showing the latest wage figures will not be available until late August or September, so the NCPE leadership decided years ago to select a Tuesday in April as Equal Pay Day. (Tuesday was selected to represent how far into the work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week.) The date also is selected to avoid religious holidays and other significant events.

Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. According to the U.S. census Bureau and Bureau of Labor statistics, women who work full time earn about 77 cents for every dollar men earn. Minority women face an even larger wage gap: compared to white men, African American Women make 70 cents on the dollar (African American men make 74 cents); Hispanic or Latina women make about 60 cents (Hispanic men make almost 66 cents).1

This year the UMKC Women’s Center and Career Services will host an information table to raise awareness of the wage gap. Stop by our table to learn helpful negotiating skills, ways to improve your resume and cover letter, how to ace an interview, or to just learn interesting facts about women and minorities in the workforce. We will have pizza to help illustrate a pie chart about the pay disparity, and information about upcoming events that will help you narrow the gap. Don’t miss it! 

National Equal Pay Day Table
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Time: 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Location: UMKC Royall Hall
800 E. 52nd Street
Kansas City, MO

 Want more information on National Equal Pay Day?  Stop by these websites.

For more information about the UMKC Women’s Center and our upcoming events please visit our website: or call us at (816) 235-1638

To find out more about Career Services visit their website:  

Celebrating A Legacy of Community Collaboration!

By Courtney Neaveill


As our 40th Anniversay event approaches we reflect on the history of the UMKC Women’s Center. Did you know that the Women’s Center has a history of working with the Women’s Bureau, Department of Labor? “Through this relationship and programming geared towards working women, focus groups were created and indicated that a growing need for women was leadership skill development.” As a result the Women’s Bureau and UMKC Women’s Center along with a start-up grant from Skillbuilders Fund, jointly sponsored a Black Women Leaders Conference in April 2006. This collaboration is just one of the legacies of the UMKC Women’s Center that we’ll be celebrating next Friday, April 20th. Check out the entire forty year history of the UMKC Women’s Center on our website at While you’re there, click on over to our 40th Anniversary page and purchase tickets for the Gala event! 

Be sure to visit the Women’s Bureau, Department of Labor website, and listen to a message from Director Sara Manzano-Diaz


For more information about the UMKC Women’s Center and our upcoming events please visit our website: or call us at (816) 235-1638

Join us to celebrate 40 years of telling our stories with the UMKC Women’s Center!

Talk about SAAM

By Melba Sanchez Fernandez


The month of April officially became Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the United States in 2011. It started out as only a week, but in response to the growing popularity of protests against violence such as Take Back the Night in the 1970s and 80s, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) extended it to the whole month. After a poll was completed by the Research Sharing Group, the color teal became the official color and the ribbon the official symbol of SAAM. Throughout the month of April, programs and events are held to inform women and men about issues surrounding and dealing with sexual assault; including some events held here at UMKC. Check out the UMKC Women’s Center Calendar for more information on our upcoming SAAM events!

Also check out some of the videos below which directly deal with Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOSCA) on the importance of SAAM

Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army

SAAM 2012


For more information about the UMKC Women’s Center and our upcoming events please visit our website: or call us at (816) 235-1638


April: Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By Armelle Djoukoue

Each day people across the world suffer from the pain of sexual assault. Sexual assault is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to, including inappropriate touching, vaginal, anal, or oral penetration, forced sexual intercourse, rape, attempted rape, and child molestation. It can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention.  According to the United States Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, there is an average of 207,754 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year and every two minutes someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.  Unfortunately, according to a statistical average of the past five years, 60% sexual assaults are not reported to the police. It is time for us to raise more awareness on sexual assault, we need to encourage victims to report when they are assaulted and let them know they are not alone.  We can start by educating ourselves and our community on how to prevent this from happening.  To raise awareness in the Kansas City community and on our UMKC campus, the Violence Prevention Program at the UMKC Women’s Center will have information tables on April 10th and April 23rd, come and learn how to deal with it or help a friend deal with it. Please find further information about what time and where both tabling events will be held! We look forward to seeing you there!

TUESDAY, APRIL 10th Sexual Assault Awareness Month Information Table

MONDAY, APRIL 23rd Sexual Assault Awareness Month Information Table

For more information please visit our Violence Prevention and Response page:


For more information about the UMKC Women’s Center and our upcoming events please visit our website: or call us at (816) 235-1638

Are Women as Funny as Men? (The Patriarchy of Comedy)

by Sarah Jensen

If you were asked to think of top comedians, who would you think of? Would they be male or female? Pop culture is rife with inequalities in the field of comedy—a grossly male dominated field. I recently read an article “Where are all the  female standups?” in a UK paper the Guardian and it made me think about these very questions. Personally, my favorite comedians are a mix of male and female: Anna Faris, Whitney Cummings, John Stewart and Simon Peg to name a few, but I could not think of more than a dozen popular female comedians. However, there are triple, if not more prominent male comedians in pop culture. Can men be that much funnier than women? Standup comedian Josie Long gives her perspective in the Guardian article: “There is an opinion at large out there, which Long estimates she hears 300 times a year: that women aren’t funny.” It shouldn’t be an issue of gender, but of material; if a PERSON is funny, than they are funny, regardless of sex. Why then is culture so obsessed with categorizing entertainment by gender? “I am genuinely a comic before I am a woman,” Millican says, “It sounds ridiculous, but I have never felt more at home than I do on stage”. The field of comedy is growing, and opening up to new generations of women, but whether or not the discriminations against women will go away is yet unknown—statistics show the entertainment industry in general is a mess of inequality. 14 of the 40 “Top Comedians”—icomedyTV are women and this is only one list. Clearly, the comedy division of pop culture entertainment is vastly uneven.


Give A Warm Women’s Center Welcome to Mel!

By Melba Sanchez Fernandez

Hello everyone! My name is Melba Sanchez, but I tend to go by Mel and I am the new Events Assistant Work Study Student at the UMKC Women’s Center.  I am a transfer student from Maple Woods Community College, making this my first semester here at UMKC as a Sociology and Spanish major. After completing my Bachelor’s Degree, I hope to go on to pursue my Masters in Photo Journalism and/or Cultural Anthropology. With that I hope to one day travel the world and learn about different societies and cultures. I chose to attend UMKC because as an urban school, there is a great amount of diversity and so far I love it! The university is also close to my family and friends which are a very important part of my life. I volunteer at various organizations in my spare time including Cherish Brooks, and El Centro Inc. Simply put, I am interested in anything that has to do with empowering women and people in general all over the world. I’m excited to be a part of the UMKC Women’s Center team and to participate in the many exciting activities and events!

In Case You Missed It: Women in the Media Around the World

By Armelle Djoukoue

[Photo credit: Rene Sandajan]

1)      RWANDA: Education, Not Parliamentary Seats, Will Empower Women

2)      EGYPT: ‘Virginity Test’ Case Highlights Challenges Facing Women

3)      UNITED KINGDOM: 80% of Women Do Not Report Rape or Sexual Assault

4)      GERMANY: Europe’s Most Popular Newspaper Drops ‘Page One’ Nudes

5)      PHILIPPINES: International Women’s Day Sees Protests in the Philippines 

6)      UNITED STATES: Already Activated, Seattle Rallies on International Women’s Day


Please visit the UMKC Women’s Center website for information on local events and news or call us at (816) 235-1638.


One Sticky Note At A Time

By Carolina Costa


“Love your body and treat it well!” or “Beauty has no color” were some of the messages posted on sticky notes around the UMKC campus during the last week of February. The Women’s Center along with UMKC students and the Counseling Center participated in the Operation Beautiful project to recognize Eating Disorders Awareness Week. 

Sticky notes could be found in rest rooms, classrooms, vending machines and hallways. The positive body image statements were aimed to encourage everyone in the community to accept themselves just the way they are. Operation Beautiful was an effort to counter the negative and abusive messages sent by the media about body image, which promote unhealthy and unrealistic standards of beauty.

In addition to the sticky notes campaign, the Women’s Center encouraged students and staff to take part in the “I love my…” picture project. Members of the UMKC community completed the sentence and were happy to take their pictures to support a positive body image.

Endorsing honest beauty standards and cultivating a high self-esteem are key components to the development of healthy communities and lifestyles and the first step to achieve success in personal growth. Operation Beautiful tackles the root of negative self-talk and poor self-esteem. With a simple message on a mirror we can change the way we look at ourselves and help each other reach our goals.

Although most sticky notes are now gone from hallways and doors, I hope the message Operation Beautiful has brought to UMKC stays among its students and spreads across the Kansas City community. Thank you to everyone who participated! I hope you had a great time changing the world one sticky note at a time!




For more information about the UMKC Women’s Center and our upcoming events please visit our website: or call us at (816) 235-1638

Join us to celebrate 40 years of telling our stories with the UMKC Women’s Center!

Modern Day Nuns

By Sarina Smith

 When one pictures a nun in this day and age, what is it that comes to mind?   Personally, I start envisioning Julie Andrews running around on mountain tops, but when I googled pictures of nuns I saw a range of awkward Halloween costumes and cartoon women in habits, looking stern and holding rulers.   The latter is what I think the majority of people see in their mind’s eye, Catholic schools where nuns taught strictly.  I say ‘taught’, like they are gone now because, for most people, nuns seem like a thing of the past.  But here’s the deal, nuns still exist and they do a ton of different things.

           It was through my Histories of Reading, Writing, and Publishing: Medieval Women’s Literacies course led by Dr. Virginia Blanton (Department of English) that that I was drawn to start a service  learning project instead of writing a regular paper.  With my enthusiasm for the monastic life she guided me to go to Atchison, Kansas for a weekend trip to the Mount St. Scholastica’s convent.  There I found that these nuns hold a wide range jobs from being nurses, to artisans, to even being college professors.  They wear regular clothing and act like regular people.  This is where I really got to thinking about the place of nuns in our modern society. 

 It makes sense that nuns would be professors; nunneries were a key place to send your daughters in the past if you wanted them to be well educated so nuns should be well educated and good teachers if they are to uphold their traditions.  Even though I see the connection when I stand back, it still seemed surreal while inside Mount St. Scholastica’s.
I wanted to know more.  Dr. Blanton informed me that Atchison had a mission located in Kansas City called the Keeler Women’s Center so I visited there next.  These nuns are as modern-day as it gets.  They lead a center to help and educate urban women stuck in poverty and they are busy people.  With the help of volunteers, they see a hundred different women each week and try to feed their needs in all areas of life.  From offering classes in parenting, teaching people how to read, to introducing them to popular women advocates they cover more life skills than most people are ever exposed to. 

After seeing all of this I was drawn in further.  Asking the director of the Keeler Center, Sister Carol Ann Petersen, what it was that I could do to help led her to show me their bookcase.  For a center that teaches literacy, they are in great need of things to read.  When she presented me their two sad shelves of dusty books (most of which are saints’ lives or stories about nuns) we decided that they could use a few more books. 

 I encourage you to go home and look through your shelves, in case there is something there that you can part with.  Giving up a book or two can take you five seconds yet make a life time of difference to these women.   They are looking for anything: children’s books for daycare, easy adult reading for their women just learning to read and then books of general interest for the variety of people they see every day.  As for me, I’ve been upsetting Isabella, my daily book guardian who did not want to get up off of my bookcase at any point this week.  Regardless of cat problems, I was able to score a stack of books, including Dr. Seuss, J.K. Rowling, and Leo Tolstoy, which I am contributing.  Please do join me in donating to the Keeler Women’s Center.  You can do this by either contacting me: , contacting the Keeler Women’s Center: , or by simply dropping your books in the book-drive box that has been placed in our own, UMKC Women’s Center located on the first floor of Haag Hall.  Give a little, give a lot, give what you can from Monday, March 12th through Friday, March 23rd. 


A special thanks to Sarina for initiating the book drive and sharing her post with us! For more information about the book drive please contact the UMKC Women & Gender Studies Program or the UMKC Women’s Center