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Not just a girl thing: WomenSpeak at MVNU

Women’s History month is not just for women to yell “girl power” or for feminism to take over social media newsfeeds.

The month of March is for both genders. MVNU is celebrating Women’s History with a variety of events designed to call attention to the role of women in society.

Sophomore Mariah Powell, student representative on the Women’s History Month committee, explained that this month is not just to celebrate the past, but to embrace the future.

“We are not just celebrating what women have done, we are celebrating what they will do and are doing now,” Powell said.

Despite the strides women have made in recent years, gender inequality still exists. We live in a male powered society, according to Director of Intercultural Life Jim Singletary.

“Males dominate and women are not in the equation; they don’t get the credit they deserve,” Singletary said.

Gender biases and stereotypes show up everywhere, from big business to ministry. Females here on campus feel it, too.

“Statistically, most women students at MVNU graduate feeling less empowered, less capable, and less equal to men than when they come in as freshmen,” Powell said.

“We want MVNU women to feel confident to share their ideas, comfortable and equal in their professional and personal relationships with men and other women, and equal in the eyes of God. We want women at MVNU to be even more empowered when they leave than when they come in as freshmen.”

Senior youth ministry major Tanner Risser encouraged students to overcome gender stereotypes and the mindsets of past generations.

“We, as Christians, need to be on board with empowering women instead of furthering the patriarchy and acting as if women are not part of the Gospel,” Risser said.

Women’s History month is necessary “to remind society how important women are and how they often get overlooked. It is good to take time out of our daily schedule to value powerful and amazing women of history and even talk about the incredible women of valor that are in our lives now,” Risser said.

Heather Petersen, another member of the Women’s History Month committee, agreed and encouraged everyone to reflect on the inspiring, influential women in their lives.

“We all have female relatives and friends who have shaped us into the people we are today.

Women have done so much — and we have so much more to do,” Petersen said.

In all of life, gender should be considered “a gift, and never a hindrance,” Petersen said.

This isn’t to be taken the wrong way. March is not about ignoring the men in your life. “This month is not about taking away men’s rights or male-bashing. We want men to be involved in this,” Powell said.

The biggest way to be involved in women’s history month as a man is to treat the women in your life with proper manners and use of language. This means publicly and privately, with or without them around.

“How you talk about women when you are just with your guy friends matters!” Powell said. Women have come a long way, but gender equality hasn’t been reached yet and frankly, women as a whole aren’t doing as well as you’d like to think.

“Women are being oppressed all over the world every minute of every day. We don’t have the right to pretend that isn’t a problem, or that we don’t have a responsibility to fight that oppression,” Powell said.

Powell makes it very clear that these events aren’t for show, but are to combat a serious issue faced by the women of MVNU each day.

“No, women are not the only group in this world facing oppression, but we are using this month to draw attention to women specifically,” Powell said.

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