Tag Archives: Feminism

Why is “feminism” a four-letter word?

feminism

Mary Frances Pipino, Ph.D., Director of the Ursuline Studies Program 

The semester is coming to a close, and with it my course,  WS 201 Introduction to Gender Studies. It’s been an amazing journey for me, with 19 bright, opinionated, inquisitive, hard-working young women for travelling companions.

On the first day of class, I asked the group (by show of hands) who considered herself a feminist. Only one student raised her hand. I expected this response—as Lisa Maria Hogeland wrote in a 1994 article for Ms. titled “Fear of Feminism: Why Young Women Get the Willies,” young women distance themselves from that identity for a number of reasons, noting that “fear of feminism is fear of consequences.”

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Start the discussion: perspectives on women’s rights

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On Monday (March 31) the College hosted a panel discussion titled “Transnational Perspectives on Women’s Rights as Human Rights.” With over 100 in attendance,  working with the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, the College gathered five women panelists from Puerto Rico, Serbia, Ukraine, India and Jamaica to discuss challenges and issues in the lives of women and girls all over the world.

The discussion was moderated by Gina Messina Dysert, Ph.D., Dean of Ursuline’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies and Mary Frances (Mimi) Pipino, Ph.D., Director of the Ursuline Studies Program. Topics covered included the impact of globalization on women, breaking gender stereotypes, finding a common ground across World cultures and the definition of feminism. See the entire panel discussion below.

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Gina Messina-Dysert: continuing to claim a feminist identity

fem vs. hum

Originally published August 21, 2013 by Feminism and Religion.

Recently Susan Sarandon was asked if she is a feminist and her response left many asking if perhaps we are moving towards a post-feminist world. Of course, the very fact that Sarandon was asked if she is a feminist well demonstrates that gender politics continue (certainly, men are not asked such questions).

According to Sarandon, “I think of myself as a humanist because I think it’s less alienating to people who think of feminism as being a load of strident bitches.”  She went on to explain that “feminist” is an “old-fashioned word” and is actually used to minimize women and girls.

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Fridays with B&B: the “F” word

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A weekly conversation between your campus Marketing gals Brittney & Becca. TGIF! 

Becca: Where do we start?
Britt: Hold on one sec – I’m posting a photo (Instagram).
*Becca sips her chai tea latte… (we are writing from a local coffee shop).
Britt: Ok, so – feminism. First, let’s follow up on last week’s convo. Have you read about the backlash #banbossy is getting?
Becca: I did – I saw the one article about a Dad who said he will continue to call his daughter bossy when she acts bossy – and the same goes for his son.
Britt: I haven’t read that piece. I’m interested in the conversations about #banbossy not being important because there are so many other pressing women’s issues (education, violence against women, etc.). Which is true, but it’s also not good if we are not talking about how young girls and women are perceived in terms of language, double standards.

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Recognizing Women’s Contributions on Labor Day

c052bca63dbe374667b78946e1c33526Labor Day was established as a federal holiday in 1894 with the purpose of celebrating both the social and economic contributions of those who work.   Certainly every worker must be recognized for her or his contributions, but it is also a time to consider the undervalued work of women.

We all recognize the image of Rosie the Riveter, the US cultural icon representing women who took on factory work during WWII keeping the economy alive.  Rosie inspired a social movement that helped the number of women substantially increase in numbers in the workforce and has become a feminist symbol of women’s economic power.  Today, women are 50% of the workforce and a recent study shows that 4 in 10 mothers are the sole or primary breadwinners in their families.

This said, women continue to be underpaid and their work often goes unrecognized.  Although the Equal Pay Act was passed 50 years ago, the gender wage gap continues. While Hilary Clinton did make 18 million cracks, women continue to face the glass ceiling.  There is a serious gender leadership gap with women serving in only 14.3% of CEO positions in Fortune 500 companies in 2012.

Beyond the unjust treatment of women in relation to pay and leadership, there is also a serious gender gap in work division in the home.  We generally refuse to acknowledge the work of women in the home as having any value and particularly ignore the role of woman as mother.

In The Feminine Economy and Economic Man, Burggraf questions whether women, any more than men, would sign on for the following job description:

Wanted:  Parents willing to bear, rear, and educate children for the next generation of Social Security taxpayers, and to carry on the American culture of learning and progress.  Quality children preferred.  Large commitment of time required.  At least one parent must work a double shift and/or sacrifice tenure and upward mobility in the job market. Salary:  $0.  Pension benefits:  $0.  Profits and dividends:  $0.

Recent studies show that 75% of mothers have joined the workforce, and thus are pulling double duty; they not only sign on for no pay and no recognition for their gendered role in the home, they also participate in a workforce that undervalues their contributions.  So, on Labor Day, when you are celebrating the contributions of all workers who allow us to flourish as a society, may I so humbly suggest that you also consider the undervalued work of women and the work that still needs to be done.

Gina Messina-Dysert, Ph.D. is Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies at Ursuline College and National Chair of Education for American Mothers, Inc.