Empowered Women Empowering Women

Australian Activist and Writer G.D. Anderson asserted, “Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” On Thursday, October 17th, a few Resident Assistants (RAs) from the North Residence Halls: Katie Suarez, Mackenzie Bender, Iza Gora, Sephora Dikabou, and Christina Kendig, put on a Women’s Empowerment Night in the St. George Lounge.

This program gave Freshmen and Upperclassmen residents a chance to have an open discussion about a variety of topics mostly regarding women’s’ rights and their roles in society. Residents could also choose to paint their nails, do face masks, all while enjoying Halloween themed cupcakes and cookies. The RAs thought that having other stress-busting activities would be a great way for the girls to decompress while they conversed about topics that are still seen as taboo in our country today. RA Katie acted as the discussion moderator throughout the program and did a really great job of encouraging residents to voice their thoughts and personal stories on topics such as discrimination in the workplace and the hardest parts about being a woman.

I questioned some RAs and residents to get their feedback on the program. I offered a question to the group of RAs who hosted the program:

 What motivated the group to host a program like this one?

RA Sephora claimed, “‘It is always good for women to come to talk about the problems in our society and try to make a change.’”

RA Iza also responded and said, “‘We have mostly women RAs and freshman residents who are women so it makes sense to have a program like this one.’”

Women's rights and gender equality are two topics that I have always felt very passionate about. As an RA for freshman, I get to participate in watching my residents blossom into stronger, more confident young women than they were when they first arrived at La Salle. In the first few months that I have spent in this role, I can honestly say that this is one of the most rewarding factors. Every day, I write a different quote from an influential woman on one of the whiteboards outside my door so my residents can start their morning with a little bit of inspiration.

RA Katie and Resident Shelley Criczky also spoke to the importance of this event. RA Katie claimed,“Yes, I believe programs like these are important because a lot of people come from different backgrounds and the issues are so prominent in the media today especially with the #MeToo Movement. A program like this deserves to happen at La Salle.” Shelley had a similar response and said, “I definitely think there should be more programs like this at La Salle. Everyone being in the same room and talking about these issues can really help you.” RA Lily Brow from St. Katharine Hall was one of the program participants and talked with me about her takeaways, “I always think it is nice being in a room with other women talking about women’s issues because it allows you to get a weight off your chest you didn’t even realize was there.”

 

Based on the success of the program, the RAs in the North Residence Halls intend to host programs that resemble the Women’s Empowerment Night in the future. It is a RA’s job to build  a close-knit community that gives residents space to freely voice their thoughts and opinions about matters that some tend to see as off-limits, and this is exactly what Women’s Empowerment Night did.