Walk a Mile

Although these are some scary statistics and stories, this is an issue that has been and continues to affect women, especially those in college and younger. If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend checking this out and taking the time to read a little bit about it.

In an effort to reach out to women (and men) on campus and educate them about these issues, as well as provide support services, UMKC received the Department of Justice Violence Against Women Campus Grant, which funds the Violence Prevention and Response Project. If you or someone you know is a victim or survivor of sexual violence, dating or relationship violence, or stalking, please know there is someone here to help.

The VPR project also provides education and training, and puts on programs such as Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, which will take place on September 25. We hope you will join us in our efforts to end violence against women!

Fusing Politics and Motherhood in a New Way

This article from today’s New York Times is actually one of the better-researched and written articles concerning the combination of Sarah Palin’s motherhood and political career. One piece of it that I find especially intriguing and relevant is the different approach she takes to combining her family and her career, taking both her children and her husband into the workplace with her. Perhaps one of the issues with American society and the reason we’re questioning her ability to be both a mom and vice president is our black-and-white view of parenthood and work. If we go by the 50’s model of the workplace (which, let’s not kid ourselves, is still alive and functioning), you go to work, there is someone at home to take care of the kids, and you work until the job is done, even putting in extra hours if need be, with no repercussions on your family or personal well-being. For today’s workforce, however, family, whether that be children, partners, or parents, and personal time are more often taking precedence over work.

Maybe we should take a page out of Sarah Palin’s book and start finding ways to combine the two. What do you think?

Mommy Wars? Really?

This might be one of the most obnoxious articles I’ve read in awhile. Does it bother anyone else that at no point in this article do they debate her political credentials, just her “mommy” status? Media everywhere are jumping all over this, and it’s driving me nuts. When was the last time any of us heard someone question whether or not a man could be a father and hold a political office? On top of all of this, the judgment by other mothers is absolutely crushing. Just because someone chooses to parent in a different way does not make them a bad person. Am I bad person because I work instead of staying at home with my two-year-old son?

And what does this say about the state of fatherhood in our country that we don’t question how a man will be a good father and hold political office?

Perhaps the quote that I find most appalling from this article is below:

In all of Washington, there is perhaps one person whose life most resembles
the one that Ms. Palin is pursuing: Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers,
Republican of Washington and mother of an infant son with Down syndrome. Ms.
Rodgers cheered Ms. Palin’s entry into the race, saying it would draw attention
to the policy needs of children and families.
But Ms. Rodgers acknowledges that on some days, like the one when she had to run to the Capitol for a vote without taking a shower first, she wonders if she is doing the right thing. She feels then like many working mothers: caught between her job and “wanting to be the best mom and best wife you can possibly be.”

Facebook Ads

Here’s a great article about the ads on Facebook. For those of you who have seen them and been insulted or offended, I think you’ll appreciate the finer points of advertising offered by the author.
What do you think about the ads on Facebook? Are they too “in your face”? Or are they just another way of reaching out to the younger generation?

Party Line

Brenda (the Director of the Women’s Center) and I have been debating over the last week whether or not to blog about any of the Democratic National Convention. There have been some pretty significant speeches made by and about women, and it seems like something that would belong on a women’s center blog. At the same time, we would feel just as strongly about blogging about the Republican National Convention. Rather than blog about one or the other, we’ve decided not to blog about either. This doesn’t mean we’re completely oblivious to what’s going on in the world of politics, but it does mean that we want to make sure that our students understand that the Women’s Center is a place for all students – Democrats, Republicans and everything else. While some issues for which we advocate may seem to fall to one side or the other, we hope that students see that our main concern here is supporting women and feel that this is a safe place to come to discuss whatever their political beliefs may be.

We also hope that students will take the time to stop by (or post a comment) and let us know what they feel are the important issues of this political campaign. How might one candidate’s views affect women? What are the issues in the current campaign that affect or involve women? What issues aren’t in the current campaign that you would like to see? Let us know what you’re thinking!

Dora the Exhibitionist?

For those who attended this year’s Starr Symposium, the latest development for Dora the Explorer might not surprise you that much – even if it does disturb you. Why do some marketers feel the need to “sex up” girl characters so much? Even ones targeting pre-school age children? What are your thoughts on this? Do you have other examples of oddly mature cartoon or toy characters that you can think of? What about male characters? Share by making comments below.

Midwifery in Missouri

At the Women’s Center Open House yesterday, the topic of midwifery came up. Apparently, Missouri has recently supported the decision to allow direct entry midwifery. According to Wikipedia, “A direct-entry midwife is educated in the discipline of midwifery in a program or path that does not also require her to become educated as a nurse. Direct-entry midwives learn midwifery through self-study, apprenticeship, a midwifery school, or a college- or university-based program distinct from the discipline of nursing.” Previous to this ruling, midwives in Missouri were required to also be educated as nurses in order to practice legally.

As of April 2007, Missouri was one of only eleven states to prohibit direct entry midwifery (Midwives Alliance of North America).

We also learned that there are, in fact, some male midwives practicing in the U.S., despite the title. One of the reasons we love having students come visit us at the Center is because they are always teaching us stuff!

Why We Still Need the Women's Movement (and Women's Centers)

When I tell people what I do for a living, I’m often asked why universities still need women’s centers. After all, they tell me, women are equal now, and so an office dedicated to advancing women’s equality seems out-of-date, as unnecessary as the larger women’s movement that caused the founding of campus women’s centers.

So, here’s my answer: in a world where

  • women earn an average of 77 cents to a man’s dollar;
  • 1 in 4 college women are victims of rape or attempted rape;
  • college women experience a “confidence gap” compared to men;
  • pregnant women and mothers routinely experience job discrimination;
  • and internet groups dedicated to repealing the 19th amendment (the one that gave women the right to vote) exist (yes, most of them are indeed serious),

how could I not believe we still need a movement to advance women’s equality? And yes, that includes working with and supporting men in that effort. The answer to the question “Are men welcome in the Women’s Center?” is an enthusiastic yes–we can’t do it without you!

So, readers, what do you all think? Why is the women’s movement still needed? How will you support it? Provide your answers in the comments (just keep it friendly–remember heated discussion is good; name-calling is bad). And we hope to see you in our virtual and physical spaces this upcoming year–remember, the Women’s Center is here to serve you, so take advantage of our resources, services, and programs!

Brenda Bethman
Director, UMKC Women’s Center

Disclaimer: Websites & Guest Posts

Disclaimer: Various links on the UMKC Women’s Center blog open third party websites. We do not assume any responsibility for material located outside of this blog.

Listing of material on this website does not serve as a contract between the UMKC Women’s Center and any other party and does not constitute an endorsement of any organization or its activities. As such, the Women’s Center is not liable for any content, advertising, products, or other materials on or available from such sites or resources.

The UMKC Women’s Center also allows guest posts. In the case of all guest posts, the opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of UMKC or the UMKC Women’s Center.

Welcome from the Director

Welcome to the UMKC Women’s Center Blog!

This blog is designed to create a safe space for UMKC students and Kansas City community members to learn about and discuss women’s and gender issues. We envision this blog as a space where we can come together to post on and discuss the hot topics of the day relating to women and feminism. Please take note of the phrase “safe space” and be sure to check out our Comments Policy.

While UMKC Women’s Center staff members will provide the majority of the posts, we also welcome guest posts written by students, staff, faculty or community members. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, please contact Brenda Bethman, Director of the UMKC Women’s Center or Kristen Abell, Assistant Director of the UMKC Women’s Center.

We are excited about setting up our new technology tools to better connect with UMKC students and the Kansas City community! This blog is only one of the ways you can connect with the Women’s Center–please be sure to follow the links on the left side of this page to join our Facebook group or follow us on Twitter! And be sure to check out our website as well. If you have comments on our blog, website, or suggestions for ways the Women’s Center can serve you better, do not hesitate to e-mail me at bethmanb@umkc.edu.

I look forward to exciting discussion!

Brenda Bethman