Center for Women and Gender

The mission of the Center for Women and Gender at Saint Michael’s College is to promote awareness and activism around women’s and gender equity issues by educating students, faculty and staff. We also support individuals by providing them with resources and referrals.

In service to the Saint Michael’s community, the Center for Women and Gender:

  • Provides a visible, safe and inclusive meeting space
  • Collaborates with campus and community organizations to carry out a variety of educational and social programs
  • Works closely with campus partners to provide quality information, resources and referrals
  • Advocates for gender equality and social justice
  • Supports and nurtures women leaders on campus
  • Provides students with a network and support system
  • Values women and individuals and celebrates their achievements and the diversities of their lives

Center for Women and Gender Meeting Space

The Center has a full kitchen, a comfortable living room, a resource library, cozy couches, a flat screen TV, computer stations, and much more. We are here to foster a creative, inspiring, relaxing and supportive environment where individuals can learn about gender issues, do homework, drink tea, challenge assumptions, meet new friends, connect with local resources, raise consciousness and build community.

Saint Michael’s College has a long-standing history of promoting and supporting volunteerism and community service. If you have an interest in women’s issues, gender equity and social justice, the Center for Women and Gender is a great place to get involved.

Volunteering at the Center is a great way to acquire new skills, build community, plan and coordinate programs, collaborate with other campus and community organizations and have a forum to express ideas and concerns related to women’s issues and gender equity. It’s a place for action, learning and celebration.

We welcome your ideas for activities or initiatives and are prepared to assist in developing plans and making them happen.

Some possible volunteer opportunities include:

  • Help staff the Center
  • Host a film night
  • Lead a discussion group
  • Support students by providing information and referrals
  • Help plan and publicize programs for “awareness” days and months, such as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, World AIDS Day, International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month
  • Start a letter writing campaign
  • Host a potluck dinner or other social events
  • Design an educational bulletin board

Yoga Sessions

We offer weekly morning yoga sessions and occasional evening restorative sessions, at no cost to students. Emily Kimball (class of 2012) is the instructor.

Dinner and a Movie

We invite members of the community into the Center to share meals and watch movies that deal with various gender issues.

Women’s Spirituality Circle

The Women’s Spirituality Circle is a group of staff and faculty who meet monthly to reflect on their personal understandings of God and to discuss books about women’s spiritual journeys.

Pancake Breakfasts

At the beginning and end of each semester we host a celebratory pancake breakfast for students, staff and faculty. This event provides an opportunity to meet new people and reconnect with old friends while gaining familiarity with the Center and eating a delicious breakfast.

Refugee Mentoring Program

In collaboration with an Adrie Kusserow’s Anthropology class and local organizations we offer alternative Saturday night opportunities to mentor and spend time with local refugee youth.

Discussions about Race and Racism

This discussion group is designed to create a safe space to talk informally about issues of race in our culture, the media, our community and our lives. Professors from various fields help facilitate these weekly discussions.

Common Ground

This student organization meets at the Center every week. Common Ground’s mission is: “to promote social awareness, especially regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and ally issues. By embracing a gay-straight alliance, we can create a safe space for people of all sexualities, gender identities, and individualities within ourselves and the Saint Michael’s Community.”

2012:

Marta Sanchez, The Healing Power of Art

Marta is a survivor, an author, an activist, and a self-taught visual artist from Panama. Her paintings capture her journey from victim to survivor and for the past 10 years she’s been weaving her art with story-telling and spoken word to engage audiences in the US and abroad in conversations about sexual violence and empowerment. Her art has been chosen by distinguished organizations for awards and exhibitions and her writing has been featured in anthologies and on renowned websites. In 2008 she published a book of short stories, poetry and art entitled Beauty Unbalanced.

Lisa Alther, author of Washed in the Blood

Lisa Alther is the author of five bestselling novels—Kinflicks, Original Sins, Other Women, Bedrock and Five Minutes in Heaven. Her novels have been translated into 14 languages and together have sold over six million copies. Alther aims to portray the human reality behind cultural stereotypes, often dealing with such material in a humorous fashion. Reviewers in both the New York Times Book Review and The Nation have written that she possesses “comic genius”.

Peace Paper, paper-making and screen-printing workshop

Peace Paper empowers communities through collaborative art processes that address peaceful reconciliation and positive forward thinking. Through the paper-making and screen-printing workshop we work together to transform significant articles of clothing into pieces of art which broadcast personal stories, mutual understanding and healing.

2011:

Shabana Basij-Rasikh, Afghan Women Working for Change

Growing up in Kabul, Afghanistan, Shabana Basij-Rasikh dressed as a boy for five years and walked 45 minutes to and from a secret school six days a week –that was the only way she could get an education. After the Taliban fell, she proposed a plan for a girl’s school to the deputy minister of education. She was just 16, but she convinced him. Today, as a student at Middlebury College, she was recently named one of Glamour magazine’s Top Ten College Women. She made the list as “The Groundbreaker” and was recognized for building schools and wells in Afghanistan in addition to launching a non-profit.

Libby Spears, Screening and Discussion of: Playground, the Child Sex Trade in America

While traveling to the Philippines in 2001, filmmaker Libby Spears gained first-hand knowledge of the horrific practice of trafficking human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation. She discovered that most of these victims were young children. What she was astonished to find was the involvement of the United States and the degree to which the U.S. was influencing the global demand and growth of the sex-trafficking industry.

Lilly Ledbetter, The Lilly Ledbetter Story: Ensuring that Women are Paid Fairly

After a prolonged fight against gender pay discrimination at her job at Goodyear Tire & Rubber in Gadsden, Alabama, Lilly Ledbetter succeeded in getting the Supreme Court ruling against her overturned. The effect of the Court’s holding was reversed by the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009. President Obama signed the Act into law on January 29, 2009. In May 2010, Ms. Ledbetter was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the City University of New York.

2010:

Jean Kilbourne, Deadly Persuasion: Advertising and Addiction

Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., is internationally recognized for her pioneering work on the image of women in advertising and her critical studies on alcohol and tobacco advertising. Her films, lectures, and television appearances have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. She was named by The New York Times Magazine as one of the three most popular speakers on college campuses. She is the author of the award-winning book Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel and co-author of So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids. The prize winning films based on her lectures include Killing Us Softly, Spin the Bottle, and Slim Hopes.

Rosalind Wiseman, author

Given the dangers of online social media, atop the challenges of cliques, gossip, rebellion and bullying that teens face in their worlds, the paths of young adulthood are ever more difficult to navigate. Rosalind Wiseman, an internationally recognized author, educator and speaker on teens, parenting, education and social justice, has focused on just those challenges. Author of the New York Times best-seller Queen Bees and Wannabes, Ms. Wiseman spoke on that subject.

Helen Benedict, author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq

Helen Benedict, both a novelist and professor of journalism at Columbia University, who specializes in the Iraq war, women’s issues, race, and literature is the author of five novels and five books of nonfiction, including The Lonely Soldier (Beacon Press, 2009). Her writings on women soldiers won the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism in 2008. She has also published articles in The New York Times, The Nation and elsewhere. More women are fighting in Iraq than in any other American war in history, yet they face a dual challenge: they are participating in combat more than ever before, but because only one in ten soldiers are female, they are often painfully alone. In The Lonely Soldier, Benedict humanizes the complex issues of war.

2009:

Lida Winfield: Pantyhose, Combat Boots and the Search for the Right Tool

Pantyhose, Combat Boots and the Search for the Right Tool, performed and written by Lida Winfield with the co-direction of Matt Wohl, is a one woman performance that fuses and interesting mixture of theater, movement and storytelling. Winfield tells personal stories about growing up broken into clips of flashbacks from age five to the present day with movement and music linking them together. Though the stories are personal, the themes are universal. This is not only a performance about coming of age but about the human experience of finding one’s spot… place… home.

 

If you’d like to contact us or get involved, please call the Center for Women and Gender at 802.654.2667 or stop by our home across from the Ross Sports Center on the campus side of Route 15, directly across from the Days Inn.

WomensCenter@smcvt.edu

For further information, please contact:

Gabriella Elmoussaoui
Center for Women and Gender Coordinator
gelmoussaoui@smcvt.edu
802.654.2667
(preferred pronouns: she/her)

Kelsy HenneBarrows
Center for Women and Gender Program Coordinator
khennebarrow@smcvt.edu
802.654.2667
(preferred pronouns: she/her)