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22 Ways to Eradicate Sexism and Improve Women’s Lives

This list was inspired by our work in Professor Miller’s Introduction to Women’s Studies class.  Read it and try out some of our ideas to make the Wheaton campus (and the world) a better place for women (and men)! 

  1. Encourage a female friend to run for SGA president in order to get more women involved in Wheaton’s politics and student leadership.

  2. Apply to live in Emerson, the “Feminist Perspectives House.”  Its residents promote activism both on campus and in the community and share an interest in issues that affect women. Applications can be found under the Residential Life webpage on the Wheaton website.

  3. Join SHAG, Wheaton’s Sexual Health Advocacy Group. 

  4. Don’t let appearance define your self-worth.  Rebel against society’s unobtainable beauty norms – wear sweats and less makeup to class once a week or take just a little less time when preparing to go out to Sporty’s next Thursday night or the next HAAS dance!

  5. Take a Women’s Studies course this spring, such as Intro to Women’s Studies (WMST-101) or Feminist Theory (WMST-312) – you won’t regret it!

  6. Become familiar with the names of current and campaigning female politicians as well as their agenda.

  7. Write to your state representative about a women’s cause you are passionate about (better enforcement of pay equity, increased funding for women’s shelters, etc.)

  8. Familiarize yourself with the many different forms of contraception.  Part of owning your sexuality involves respecting your body by protecting yourself from unwanted pregnancies and STIs.

  9. RAs: Make sure your residents consistently have access to free condoms by routinely refilling a basket that you place in your floor’s hallway. (Residential Life supplies condoms to RAs to distribute to residents).

  10. RAs: Theme your hall’s bulletin board around Women’s Health for one month.  Include different resources, such as instructions for self-breast exams, information about STIs and their symptoms, and material on different types of contraception and where you can obtain them.

  11. Familiarize yourself with Wheaton’s new Sexual Misconduct Policy (search “Sexual Misconduct” on the school’s website) and read Dean Williams’ latest D-log (Nov. 7, 2011), which also discusses the updated policy.

  12. RAs:  Post hotline numbers on the inside of bathroom stalls for immediate access to live counseling.  Preceptors: You can also create and distribute a similar list to your preceptees.  Here are a few numbers: (714) NEW-HOPE, (714) NEW-TEEN, and (800) SUICIDE.  If you ever feel stressed or just need to talk to someone about a crisis, a phone call to one of these hotlines can be a great help.

  13. Support one of Wheaton’s many intercultural clubs by attending a meeting and getting involved.  Some of these clubs are WOW (Wheaton’s Organization for Women), DWOCC (Distinguished Women of Color Collective), LSA (Latino Student Association), and UMOC (United Men of Color).  Choose one that sounds the most interesting and applicable to you!

  14. Contribute to Her Campus, which can be accessed at http://www.hercampus.com/wheatonma.  Here, female students at Wheaton can contribute to an online magazine that discusses style, beauty, love, life, career, and everything else college women need to know.

  15. Participate in Wheaton’s Take Back the Night.  Every year students get together – both men and women – and march around the Wheaton campus in order to take a stand against violence towards women.  It is a very empowering experience and helps bring together those who are fighting for a less violent world for women.

  16. Participate in the These Hands Don’t Hurt campaign. Men dip their hands in paint and make a print on a large canvas, symbolizing their pledge not to commit violence against women. You could organize this campaign during Wheaton’s freshmen orientation, starting off many students’ college experiences on a positive note in light of violence.

  17. Take advantage of the services Norton Medical Center has to offer.  It is conveniently located right next to the Old Town Bookstore, right within walking distance of campus.  Dr. Lisa Matthews comes to Norton Medical every semester to provide women access to a gynecologist.  She performs routine services pertaining to women’s health, including STI/HIV screening and treatment and general exams. To make an appointment, call Norton Medical Center at (508) 286-5400.

  18. Know the signs of abusive relationships.  If you are in an unhealthy relationship, or know someone who is, know that the Wheaton Counseling Center is here to help you. Located adjacent to Beard, students can make appointments to meet with a variety of counselors that provide a safe, confidential environment for students to explore their problems. To make an appointment, call (508) 286-3905.

  19. Don’t dumb down your career ambitions out of concern about balancing a career and a family in the future.  Apply to that Ph.D. program after graduation, apply to medical school, apply to veterinary school – go after what suits your interests, and don’t let the “housewife” stereotype stop you.

  20. Don’t let gender stereotypes influence your course selection here at Wheaton.  If you’re a guy, try taking Ballet with Professor Mrozowski in the spring or Gender, Genre and Poetry with Professor Buck in the fall. If you’re a girl, try out a class in Computer Science, such as Robots, Games and Problem Solving, or even The American Political System, an introductory Political Science course. You can’t know what your interests truly are until you try different things!

  21. Don’t be afraid to call yourself a feminist – whether you are a man or a woman.  The negative stereotype of feminists being bra-burning, man-hating women is NOT true!  A feminist supports equality between women and men in all areas: politically, economically and socially.  Men should be proud to believe in feminism, for it also fights for men’s liberation as well as women’s.  Our society’s implemented gender roles and frequent display of sexism harm men as well as women.

  22. Volunteer or intern at New Hope, a local domestic and sexual violence shelter.  The nearest locations are in Attleboro and Taunton.  A week-long training in intimate partner violence, sexual assault prevention, and survivor advocacy is being brought to Wheaton for the first time during the last week of winter break (January 17-20)!  New Hope is leading this training, and completing this course is a prerequisite to volunteering at New Hope and other similar agencies.  If you are interested, contact Dean Vereene Parnell ASAP in order to obtain the application ([email protected]).

*For more information, take a Women’s Studies course or check out 50 Ways to Improve Women’s Lives:  The Essential Women’s Guide to Achieving Equality, Health, and Success.
*Responses or additions to this list are highly encouraged – we want to hear your opinions! Please send your input to either Michelle Lipkin at [email protected] or Alexandra Lund at [email protected] ASAP. 

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