WebsterLEADS will begin their first Women in Leadership Speaker Series: WomenLEAD this Wednesday, Sept. 21. It features series of lectures that feature female leaders on campus, from students to the administration, including President Elizabeth Stroble. Here’s the catch: the invitation extends only to females.
So, just because I have a penis means I can’t attend?
I find it interesting that on campus we seem so concerned about making sure everything is within the bounds of equality, yet all I see is sexism at its worst. In fact, it’s rather insulting.
I understand that historically speaking, men have always been the “dominant” image of humans and women took the backseat. For centuries, men have belittled the image of women. Sexual discrimination was everywhere. We continue to have problems with sex equality today as much as we struggle with racial equality.
I thought times had changed. So why is WebsterLEADS trying to keep the testosterone level down?
It’s actually a plan to help raise productivity within WebserLEADS. To gain a certificate in leadership from WebsterLEADS, students have to attend four workshops on campus and complete other miscellaneous leadership requirements.
Having a workshop for just women will help begin a series of other speaker programs. WebsterLEADS found it appropriate to just start with women to break the ice with students and administration.
Lauren Meyer, graduate student of WebsterLEADS, said there’s potential for a men’s only leadership series and even a diversity leadership series in later years. But for this year, they will focus on women.
It’s great that WebsterLEADS is able to help diversify the leadership series, but keeping men out is still an issue.
Unlike other universities, Webster University is a little different since the majority of the student population is female. We have a thriving sorority on campus, but our fraternity disbanded last year. Webster was originally a Catholic girls school. Our university president is a woman — in essence, our institution is female-centric.
Men are outnumbered at Webster, but that doesn’t mean we should be overlooked in the name of equal access.
The Association of African American Collegians allows people of all races to attend their meetings. The LGBTQ Alliance allows heterosexual people to attend. Clearly, these two groups can understand that by incorporating everyone in their meetings, they’re moving diversity and equality efforts forward.
If we’re trying to move forward as a society, simple acts like refusing to allow men to attend these lectures are holding us back from reaching that goal. It’s like we’re heading back to our roots of inequality.
Groups such as the sorority are fueled by social engagements, and therefore it is acceptable for them to be exclusive about members. Yet these speeches are for educational purposes. In this manner, we’re also neglecting about half of the university of an educational experience.
It’s not insulting that we men are banned from female social events like the sorority. But keeping us out of enlightening speaking engagements that could open our eyes to the conflicts that women have with us could be.
I’m sure if WebsterLEADS held an all-male speaker series like this and didn’t allow females to attend, the women’s studies department would throw a tantrum.
Last year, The Journal ran an ad featuring women covered from mid-thigh to collarbone with newspapers in a semi-evocative house ad. Members of the women’s studies department condemned this action, but the following week when we featured an identical pose with men, they were silent.
These feminist acts have to stop. All it’s doing is promoting reverse discrimination and degrading our image as a university.
History teaches us about the struggles women went through in order to gain the rights and respect they have today. We’re more equal now than we have ever been. Not allowing men attend these events is disgraceful to those women activists’ legacies. Remember the saying, “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.”
We’re better than this, aren’t we?