Women?s Week combats inequalities

By By Laura Schmitz

By Laura Schmitz

Discrimination in the workplace was the focus of this year’s Women’s Week keynote address Tuesday.

The 2011 theme is “Ain’t Misbehaving: Women Making History, Fighting for Equality” and coincides with Women’s History Month. The weeklong celebration aims to highlight the progress of women and address the need for improvement.

“(Women’s Week) is critical in that it provides the opportunity to make sure the contributions, challenges and accomplishments of women are noted,” said Jennifer Williams Molock, assistant vice president for student equity and diversity and co-chairwoman of the Women’s Week committee.

Guest Ruth O’Brien, the chairwoman of the political science graduate program at the City University of New York, delivered her speech titled “Ceilings Waiting to be Broken: Women Sharing Discrimination Stories.”

O’Brien referenced modern employment discrimination and salary disparities between genders.

“As women, we must band together to create solidarity,” O’Brien said. “Women still earn on average 70 percent on the dollar compared to men. If we are able to combine our vulnerability with fearlessness, we can have an edge.”

O’Brien also addressed the future of women in the workplace.

“If women have collectivity, they can help each other,” O’Brien said. “High tides will lift all boats.”

Both U students and members of the public attended the address.

“It was really good, very informative,” said Jen Le, a junior in accounting. “(O’Brien) covered a lot of material in depth.”

Other students expressed different reviews.

“I honestly didn’t really connect,” said Claudia Gomes, a senior in health promotion and education. “It felt like (O’Brien) was reading.”

Women’s Week was first celebrated in California in 1971, and by 1981, Congress passed a resolution establishing a national Women’s History Week. The event was expanded into an entire month in March of 1987, Molock said.

“Since the beginning of time, women have been a force to be reckoned with, and we are here to keep up the noise,” Molock said. “The U is honored to continue recognizing the legacy of women.”

Sponsored in part by the Office for Equity and Diversity and the Women’s Resource Center, the U’s Women’s Week officially kicked off Monday, with events continuing through the week.

“(Women’s Week) brings awareness to what we struggle with,” Gomes said. “I think it’s great that it’s on campus. I wish it were here every day.”

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Kimberly Roach

Ruth O?Brien spoke about women in the workplace for the 2011 Women?s Week at the U.