Feminism workshop talks gender equality

Kennedy Nolen, Multicultural Reporter

Three graduate students spoke on how to advocate for gender equality at “Feminism in Action,” one of the many workshops at the EIUnity Diversity Conference on Friday.

Porfirio Gallegos, a college student studying college student affairs, said feminism is not about saying women are better than men; instead, it is about equality.

Gallegos started the presentation by introducing the first wave of feminism, which he called “the enlightenment.”

The first wave began in the mid-1800s and led up to the ratification of the 19th amendment, which prohibited denying someone the right to vote based on gender.

Sheldon Aaron, a graduate student studying counseling, discussed the second wave of feminism, which began after World War II.

He said this wave of feminism wanted to focus on restructuring gender roles in the home.

Aaron, who wore a shirt with the word “Feminist,” on it, said he wants to encourage men to promote equality, even in a passive way.

He said the fourth wave of feminism is happening “here and now.”

Cayla Maurer, a college of student affairs graduate student, said currently, feminism is not a taboo word and is viewed less critically.

The three leaders of the workshop broke the participants into three groups to discuss political development, social development and personal development.

Ways in which feminists can make a political development are through attending women’s marches and getting other men involved, Gallegos said.

Mark Hudson, director of Housing and Dining Services, said it is important to vote and know the candidates.

“If you stay home on voting day, you’re not in the game. You’re on the sideline,” he said.

While in Washington D.C. for the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21, Maggie Burkhead, director of TRiO, said she was amazed at how many men were there to march for women’s rights.

She said some men even wore shirts which said “I came from a nasty woman,” poking fun at a comment made by President Donald Trump.

KC Compañano, a senior psychology major, said seeing two men lead the workshop and giving the presentation meant a lot to her.

Kelsey Oglesby, a graduate student studying clinical counseling, said she had always thought of the word ‘slut’ as a negative term until after the workshop discussion.

She said it is empowering for feminists to work to get rid of the negative connation and stigma of the word.

Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].