Gannon celebrates women’s history


Gannon University has been celebrating Women’s History Month with several different events throughout the month of March.

The events have been open to faculty, staff and students, as well as the public. They are designed to raise awareness of women’s contributions to the community and to the world.

Carolyn Baugh, Ph. D., an assistant professor of history and the director of Gannon’s women’s studies program, said this falls in line with Gannon’s mission.

“Gannon University, as part of its mission, is dedicated to social justice for all, including women, and is continually trying to engage the larger community in critical discussions on larger issues,” Baugh said. “We hope to see as many people at our events as possible.”

One of the events that took place this month was the Erie United Against Human Trafficking Conference, which was aimed to raise awareness about human trafficking and included an appearance by Holly Austin Smith, the author of “Walking Prey.”

The conference took place March 14 in Gannon’s Waldron Campus Center.

In conjunction with the conference, Katie Wirsing will be appearing at 8 p.m. Friday at the Knight Club.

Wirsing is an internationally known spoken-word poet who focuses on issues including sexuality, love, gender and spirituality.

The final event to take place during Women’s History Month is Tea and Conversation at the Knight Club, which will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Monday.

The topic of the gathering will be challenges and strategies for women in the sciences with featured speaker Lisa Nogaj, Ph.D., an assistant professor of chemistry.

Many members of the student body and faculty have expressed interest in Gannon’s level of participation during Women’s History Month.

Berwyn Moore, a professor in the English department, is part of the women’s studies program, which aims to increase awareness of women’s contributions and also to provide a forum for people to talk about gender issues and to focus on contributions.

Moore said she believes that the women’s studies program is doing a lot of good things, not only for women, but also for the university.

“In an ideal world, we wouldn’t need to have a women’s studies program because the importance of women would be integrated into everything that we already do,” Moore said. “Right now I think we’re still living in a world where women have not yet achieved equality with men.

“It’s important, I think, to create these opportunities and these venues to talk about issues and maybe to allow people to make improvements on our way to achieving equality.”

Kelli Kallenborn, a freshman advertising communication major, agrees with Moore.

“I love the idea of Women’s History Month,” Kallenborn said. “I think it’s great to really celebrate how far women have come in our society and how much more equal we now are.”

Laura Goble, director of the Center for Social Concerns at Gannon, teaches a women’s studies class and has collaborated with Baugh to produce different forums for discussion.

“The more we talk about women’s stories and the pressures on women, the more we learn and feel inspired and can address some of the inequities and injustices that are currently happening,” Goble said.

“As our world is changing and becoming an increasingly global society, it’s really important to understand gender and how it plays out in our communities and our families.”


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