Women’s Center has new blog editor

by Megan Schwindler

Hello! I’m Megan Schwindler and I’m so thrilled to be the Blog Editor this semester at the UMKC Women’s Center. I’m a senior majoring in English Literature and minoring in Spanish and Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing. I’m also a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society. In my free time I enjoy reading, long road trips, and naps.

I’m looking forward to working at the Women’s Center because it serves as a safe space to engage in feminist discourse and it encourages the empowerment of women. I’m also excited for the many campus events we’ll be hosting. Hope to see you there!

About our staff: Korrien

By Korrien Hopkins

Hello! I’m Korrien Hopkins, and I’m a sophomore here at UMKC. This is my second semester working at the Women’s Center, and I’m excited to be back!

The Women’s Center creates an environment that allows for positive discourse about feminism to take place, which I love. It’s a place where I teach others about feminism, as well as expand my knowledge and experience advocating for women’s equity on campus and within the community at large.
This semester, I plan to effectively educate the campus and community on feminism. I will work to change negative opinions toward feminism or other social issues. I will continue to learn how to effectively discuss social issues in a manner that will inspire others to get involved.
Come visit me at the Women’s Center!
I am always available with open arms, ears and an open-mind. I look forward to seeing you all at some of our wonderful events this academic school year.

 

Welcome, Logan!

Hi, I am Logan Snook! I am a second yearGetFileAttachment master’s student at UMKC, and am working towards my Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance. I am also a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the UMKC Conservatory. I am originally from Colorado, and lived in Seattle prior to moving to Kansas City. I have loved getting to know Kansas City and experience all the city has to offer over the last year and a half!

As a music student, my life revolves around rehearsals, classes, teaching, and auditions. Outside of the world of music, two of my favorite things in the world are travel and food! Luckily, my profession allows me to combine my love of music, teaching, travel and food all at the same time!

Along with music, I am also passionate about gender equality, especially in higher education and the arts. I am very excited to be joining the Women’s Center this year and look forward to exploring these topics further. I cannot wait to work with so many talented and driven women here, and look forward to working with everyone who visits us at the Women’s Center and at our events!

Denim Day

2015-Demin-Day-Drive-Flier-Arzie-editsEviteBy Kemora Williams

Did you know that the month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month? Do you know what Denim Day is? Well, in Italy during the 1990s an 18 year old girl was raped by her 45 year old driving instructor. The case against the instructor was overturned and dismissed because the Chief Judge argued, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”

The women in the Italian Parliament were so upset with the ruling that within hours they took action and protested by wearing jeans to work. In April 1999, the first Denim Day was held in Los Angeles.

For Sexual Assault Awareness Month and in honor of Denim Day, the Women’s Center is hosting a Denim Day Drive for the entire month of April. Join this sexual violence prevention and education campaign and make a social statement by donating used denim to the Women’s Center. The drop off bins for your used denim are located at the Women’s Center, Oak Place Apartments, Johnson Residence Hall, and Oak Street Residence Hall. We’ll re-purpose your old denim by making them into visual displays that bear witness to sexual violence.

Warm up With the Women’s Center is a Great Success!

IMG_1784By Rocky Richards

After a long four weeks on break, UMKC welcomed back their students on Tuesday January 20th. As a result, the Women’s Center hosted our first event “Warm up with the Women’s Center”.

Students were able to stop by the Women’s Center at Haag Hall, Room 105 and pick up a fresh cup of coffee or hot cocoa. As a bonus, the students also received cinnamon buns! The students were not only provided a snack to start their first day of classes, but they also gained more information about the Women’s Center! The turnout for the event was great,  we were happy to meet so many great students, staff, and faculty!

If you didn’t get a chance to stop by our event, please feel free to drop by the office located in room 105 Haag Hall, 5100 Rockhill Road. The Women’s Center staff would like to welcome all students, faculty, and staff back to campus and we look forward to a great semester with you all!

Warm Up With the Women’s Center!

By Kacie Otto

Though we’re back aWarm-Up-eVite-2015-V3t UMKC for the spring semester, the temperatures outside are still winter-like to me. The first day of classes can be tough after a month of relaxation, so the Women’s Center is hosting an event to welcome you back called “Warm Up With the Women’s Center!”

Join us at 105 Haag Hall on Tuesday, January 20th for free coffee, cookies, and cocoa. Feel free to stay for a while or take your treats with you to your first class. We can’t wait to see you!

The Gender Gap and High School Academics

The UMKC Women’s Center strives to promote gender equity. Recently I stumbled upon this blog by Maya Dusenbury on Feministing that addresses the relation of high school GPA’s to the gender gap in the workforce. I encourage you to take a look and reflect upon this issue over the summer month.

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Chart of the Day: Women need a perfect GPA to
earn as much as men with a 2.0

“We already know that women need a PhD to earn as much as men with a BA, and now a new report on the relationship between high school grade point average (GPA) and income shows that women need a 4.0 GPA to earn as much as men with a 2.0. Via ThinkProgress:

GPA and future earnings by gender chart

The study also shows that, on average, women have significantly higher GPAs, while men still end up having higher incomes. This is why all the hand-wringing about how women are outperforming men in school is so silly. Yes, we are. But, as Bryce Covert explained recently, in the real world, the so-called “boy crisis” disappears – funny how sexism will do that.

As Jos wrote about the previous study showing how the pay gap persists at every level of educational attainment, these studies show that ”women need to climb higher up the ladder of degrees if they want earnings that are competitive with men.” And they show that much of the gender pay gap can’t be explained by education.”

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, And for Good Reason.

By: Amanda Johnson

We hosted a Denim Day table on April 23 as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

We hosted a Denim Day table on April 23 as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Every 2 minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 22 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime; 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men experience rape in their lifetime. Think about all the people you know- think about your family and friends. Does this startle you?

Unfortunately, reality paints a darker picture than what these numbers say. We live in a world where victims are prosecuted, where by-standers capture rape on their phone for laughs rather than for evidence, and where rapes go unreported and rapists go free. Why is it that, in a culture that knows rape is wrong, it is so prevalent?

Sexual violence isn’t comprised of a series of isolated events perpetrated by individuals. It’s engrained in our culture. As scholar Thomas Macaulay Millar wrote, “It takes one rapist to commit a rape, but it takes a village to create an environment where it happens over and over and over.” This is a culture where sexual violence is a normal occurrence and rape can be used as a humorous term- where rape victims can “deserve it.”

I’d rape her,” is defined by the Urban Dictionary as synonymous with “I’d tap that.”

Those Broncos got raped at the Super Bowl, amiright?

No. No. No.

Rape isn’t tantamount to losing a game. It isn’t a term to use when you find someone attractive.

The lines are being blurred between what constitutes condoned and consensual behavior and what sexual violence really is. In a survey of high school students, 56% of girls and 76% of boys believed forced sex was acceptable under some circumstances. It turns out, when you replace the word ‘rape’ with ‘forced sex,’ a lot more individuals will admit to committing it, being victims of it, and finding it acceptable under certain conditions. We are a culture that normalizes rape, yet, we don’t even seem to understand what it means.

Throughout the last 10 years, the National Crime Victimization Survey has reported that only approximately 30% of rape survivors report the incident to the police. Of those rapes reported to the police only 16% result in prison sentences. This means that only 5% of the time, a man who rapes ends up in prison. Unfortunately, when looking at institutions like university campuses, the numbers get even worse. The Justice Department estimates that even fewer than 5% of completed and attempted rapes of college women are reported to law enforcement officials. This number is even more staggering when you consider that 1 in 4 women will be the victim of sexual violence during her academic career. In these instances, 9 out of 10 women knew their attacker.

Despite the increased prevalence and need for victim services, universities most often  lack adequate policies and fail to provide for victims of sexual assault. The Campus Accountability Project, started by Students Active For Ending Rape (SAFE), showed the sad deficiencies in adequate sexual assault policies. Over 80% of policies received a C or below, with none making a grade higher than a B+. Nearly one-third of the policies didn’t comply with federal regulations, and only 40% had a dedicated full-time staff member dedicated to sexual assault prevention and education. In a world where victims are prosecuted, less than one-third of the policies stated that a victim’s dress and past sexual history are relevant during investigation.

In recent years, many universities have gone under fire for directly mishandling or covering up cases of rape and sexual assault- many times making national headlines such as Harvard and Yale. Some, such as Dartmouth, have even seen a decline in applications because of the negative attention. It’s time for universities to take a stand against sexual assault and provide the responsiveness that victims deserve.

We ended Sexual Assault Awareness Month with Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, a Men's March to end rape and sexual assault.

We ended Sexual Assault Awareness Month with Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, a Men’s March to end rape and sexual assault.

Tides are starting to turn though. Fortunately, this year, President Obama has issued a task force to directly deal with sexual assault on college campuses, and Sen. Claire McCaskill has conducted national surveys on the issue and has lead a bipartisan effort through the legislature to combat sexual assault in the military and now on college campuses. This effort is aimed at implementing new regulations that force campuses to adopt and change policies. Moreover, it seeks to provide additional resources to help universities be able to provide crucial services for those affected by sexual violence.

Many campuses have already made a stride towards victim services as well as prevention. Thankfully, the University of Missouri-Kansas City is one such school. It offers many services and support on campus for victims, awareness, and prevention. The UMKC Women’s Center and the Violence Prevention and Response Project seek to strengthen the university and community response to gender-based and sexual violence. Together, and in collaboration with other campus and community offices, the Women’s Center and Violence Prevention and Response Project provide vital training and education on prevention and response, resources and services for those affected by sexual violence including a safe place, referral information. Unlike many universities, UMKC offers a full time Victim Services Adjudication Advisor, Michelle Kroner. Her office, as well as the women’s center, is available to any student.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to remain active and to raise your voice against sexual assault. Sexual assault and rape has received national attention because of people like you. What UMKC and other institutions are doing is significant progress. But, it’s not a fix. Not yet. Remember, 1 is 2 many. If my article makes you uncomfortable: good. Be a person who seeks to change the system instead of ignoring it. Don’t be complicit. We can end the culture that perpetuates rape.

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Author’s Note: Violence against women is a larger narrative than what simple statistics have to offer. It’s a culture that extends worldwide. It’s a world where one in three women will be raped in their lifetime- where sexual violence is more guaranteed than an education.

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Resources:

Participate in Every Body is Beautiful Week 2014

Hello everyone! The blog below is a guest blog from UMKC’s USucceed Blog. It features our Every Body is Beauiful Week events (taking place dureing the 2014 National Eating Disorder Awareness Week), so check it out!

EveryBody“UMKC’s annual EveryBody Is Beautiful Week will take place February 24-28.  Stop by informational tables to get information on body image and eating disorders and “trash your fat talk”.  Take part all week in Operation Beautiful by posting sticky notes with positive messages around campus.  Supplies are available at the tables and all week at the Women’s Center, Counseling Center, Multicultural Student Affairs, Swinney Recreation, MindBody Connection, and Student Health & Wellness.

Join us on Wednesday, February 26 from 5–7pm in the MindBody Connection (ASSC 112) for a Love Your Body Party, with creative and relaxing activities designed to celebrate all our bodies do for us and fight back against unhealthy messages about weight and eating!

Schedule of tables:

  • Monday, February 24, 11 am – 1 pm in the Health Sciences Building Lobby
  • Tuesday, February 25, 11 am – 1 pm in the Atterbury Student Success Center
  • Wednesday, February 26, 11 am – 1 pm in Royall Hall

EveryBody Is Beautiful Week is offered by the UMKC Women’s Center and Counseling Center, with co-sponsorship from MSA, Swinney Rec, OSI, Student Health, UMKC Athletics and MindBody Connection.  Contact Rachel Pierce at 235-5186 or the Women’s Center at 235-1638 with questions.”

A Women’s Center for Everyone

WC_Logo-2COLOR-FBy Arzie Umali

The Women’s Center has had a home at UMKC for over 40 years; however, every day, someone new walks through our doors, attends one of our events, or discovers us on the internet.  That is what is so great about the Women’s Center. It is available and accessible to everyone.  It is a place to come when you want to meet people or you need some extra support. It is a staff of creative, passionate people who plan programs and events to educate you and raise your awareness about gender issues so that you feel inspired to get involved. And it is a service that helps you find resources for women, learn about the multicultural realities of women, and stay informed about current events that affect women. Our mission is to advocate, educate, and provide support services for the advancement of women’s equity on campus and within the community at large, and as a place, a staff, and a service for our students we strive to make this happen.

The Women’s Center is located in 105 Haag Hall. It is a convenient location for students who need a space to study between classes, finish up homework, or meet up with friends. We are open every weekday from 8 AM to 5 PM and we encourage all students to take advantage of our study lounge with computers and a comfy couch, conference room, and kitchenette. For nursing mothers we offer a private and secure lactation room with refrigerator for storing breast milk. And if it’s a book on women’s and gender topics you are looking for, our friendly staff is always happy to help you find a book in our library. The Women’s Center also houses the Violence Prevention and Response Project, where you can pick up information and resources about gender violence, stalking, and sexual assault, or stop by and speak to our Victim Services Adjudication Advisor if you need extra support. Our center really is about having a safer space to go when you need help, when you need to get away, or even if you need to see a friendly smile.

If activism and getting involved are what you want from your college experience, attending one or all of the Women’s Center’s programs is what you need to do. We offer a number of events that will raise your awareness about gender disparities and inspire you to get involved.  Through our Violence and Prevention Project we offer programs on sexual assault prevention to create a safer campus community.   This semester, our V-Day programs will begin in February with information tables at various locations across campus that will offer information about the international movement to end violence against women and girls. On February 19, we will be partnering with the UMKC Men of Color Initiative to offer a workshop just for men to discuss their own responsibilities in ending violence toward women. And on the evening of Tuesday, March 4, at the Student Union Theater, we will present a benefit performance of The Vagina Monologues, which includes a diverse cast of women from the UMKC student body, staff and faculty, as well as women from the community.  For more details about all our V-Day programs or to purchase tickets to The Vagina Monologues, please visit the V-Day UMKC website at http://www.umkc.edu/womenc/VDay2014/default.asp.

The Women’s Center also hosts a number of events that recognize the accomplishment of women and focus on gender equity. During the week of February 24,  we will be presenting Every Body is Beautiful Week, a series of programs that addresses eating disorders and negative body image as barriers to women’s achievement.  These programs are offered as a campus-wide effort in partnership with the UMKC Counseling Center, Office of Student Involvement, UMKC Athletics, Swinney Recreation Center, Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, and Student Health and Wellness to create more body positive messaging and ideals for women and girls. In March during Women’s History Month we will offer a trivia contest challenging our campus community’s knowledge of the accomplishments of women in history.  And on April 8, we will host an Equal Pay Day event to raise awareness of the pay disparities that women in America still face. All of these events are meant to engage our students in the unique experiences of all women.

The Women’s Center also addresses the issue of gender discrimination in the arts through the Her Art Project we address the issue of gender discrimination. This semester our programs will celebrate Wonder Women at two exciting events.  First, we are presenting a group art exhibit at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center in the historic Crossroads Arts District. The exhibit will run February 7 – March 29 and will feature six local women artists who are superheoines of the local arts community and who create works that represent the strength, courage, and resilience of the empowered woman.  On the evening of April 22 at the Kansas City Public Library Plaza Branch, we will be hosting award-winning filmmaker Kristy Guevara-Flanagan for a screening and discussion of her documentary WonderWomen! The Untold Story of American Superheroines. Both of these events focus on creative women as leaders, change-makers, and inspirations to the next generation of Wonder Women. For more information about these, and all of our events this semester, visit our website, www.umkc.edu/womenc.

Finally, the Women’s Center is a vital resource for everyone, not just women, and not just student at UMKC or people in our community. We are here for everyone and available to everyone, 24-7, on the worldwide web. Through our website, www.umkc.edu/womenc, you can access resources for women, check out our calendar for events happening on campus as well as in the community for women, and learn about the staff and history of the Women’s Center. Through our Blog, http://info.umkc.edu/womenc/, you can get insight on current topics about women from articles written by our own student staff. And on our Social Media sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr) you can find information, photos, and news about what’s happening at the Women’s Center and around the world. As you can see, the Women’s Center is more than just a mission statement. It’s a place, it’s a staff, and it’s a service dedicated to making UMKC and our community a safer, more equitable world for everyone.

For more information about the UMKC Women’s Center, please stop by 105 Haag Hall or visit us at www.umkc.edu/womenc.