New Club Takes Up Old Cause: Gender Equality
Equal opportunities in employment, education, political, economic and social rights these are the goals of gender equality. Gender equality is an issue on campuses across the country in the forms of sexual harassment, the pay gap between men and women, economic security of older women, and gender equity in education, especially the sciences.
Working to promote gender equality and keeping the Colby-Sawyer campus equal is the new club Students Affirming Gender Equality (S.A.G.E.). S.A.G.E. grew out of women's studies courses offered on campus such as Gender and the Media, Women and Film and Intro to Gender Studies taught by Melissa Meade, associate professor of Communication Studies and Women's Studies and the advisor of S.A.G.E. Students were so intrigued by what they learned in class that they began to gather on their own to discuss the concepts that had been presented. After many out-of-class discussions, the students decided to form S.A.G.E. Unlike other clubs, S.A.G.E. works as a collective and does not believe in a hierarchical organization, so there is no president or vice-president.
"We recognize the inter-generational struggles for women and men as well as the current struggles that are faced," says member Andrea Phillis.
With a dozen active members, S.A.G.E. has distributed fliers and created t-shirts with messages that promote gender equality, hoping they will inspire other students to inquire about the group's mission on campus. The club hosted alumna State Representative Ricia McMahon, who spoke speak about her experiences working for women's rights during her time at Colby-Sawyer.
S.A.G.E. is also working with Safe Zones, a campus club whose mission is to create a safe haven for gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual and transgender members of the college campus. In joining forces, S.A.G.E. hopes to further spread its mission as a club devoted to promoting gender equality on campus. S.A.G.E. is optimistic about increasing its membership and looks forward to the first male student joining the club; any student interested in discussing their opinions on gender equality is welcome.
Recently S.A.G.E. presented a student-inspired version of the Vagina Monologues, a play by Eve Ensler comprised of monologues such as I Was Twelve, My Mother Slapped Me, Because He Liked to Look At It and I Was There In the Room, which is about witnessing a birth. On April 5, the club will sponsor an event that brings Sister Spit: The Next Generation to campus for an evening of feminist spoken word/performance art.
S.A.G.E. has a lot to offer Colby-Sawyer, and is a valuable resource for anyone struggling with or curious about gender issues on campus. It prepares students for dealing with gender issues in the world, information that will be helpful for a lifetime. The members of S.A.G.E. urge the college community to question what they believe is fair and to think about the issue of gender equality. If you are interested in getting involved with S.A.G.E., contact Andrea Phillis about attending the club's next meeting.
-Lisa Stanulonis '13