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Week recognizes women leaders

| Thursday, February 27, 2014

To kick off March as Women’s History Month, Saint Mary’s student diversity board continued its celebration of Women’s Appreciation Week by recognizing women leaders, their accomplishments and their shared history with two on-campus panels.

During this week, the student diversity board strives to celebrate the women “within us” rather than implementing a specific stereotype that women must fit, chair of the event Christin Kloski said.

As part of the weeklong event, students host speakers and participate in discussions and panels, Student Diversity Board president Maria Del Cardenas said.

More than anything, the event was meant to celebrate and empower women around the Saint Mary’s campus and community, Del Cardenas said.

“I think that we all feel the importance of giving a woman the attention and praise she deserves,” she said. “Especially Saint Mary’s women, we have high levels of achievement and participate in an extreme amount of activities on campus, we are making history year after year.”

Saint Mary’s held a professor panel on “Her Story” at 6 p.m. in the Student Center Lounge on Tuesday to demonstrate the depth of character that defies the stereotypical image of women and to discuss what makes professional women who they are today, Kloski said.

“We want to show that our journey of becoming women is never ending,” she said. “Each student could learn something from the women and use them as a resource to guide them on their own path to becoming a strong, independent women.”

The panel focused on the empowerment of women, Kloski said.

“It is acceptable to be vulnerable, but a woman is also resilient,” Kloski said. “Through a journey, emotion and unknown outcomes, a woman is transformed by each experience.”

The panel included philosophy professor Adrienne Lyles Chockley and communications professor Marne Austin, and each shared her “life story” with students, Kloski said.

“[They] are awesome ladies,” Kloski said. “The two were the best options for the panel. Both simply explained that life is full of imperfection, and as women, we must understand that concept.”

The two women also discussed how life and plans can unexpectedly change, just by the nature of the universe, Kloski said.
“If life were a set plan, then it would be boring,” she said.

Austin said she was approached by the student diversity board to partake in the panel because she lives for women’s empowerment everyday.
“The reason I’m here at Saint Mary’s College is because I believe in the inherent power, brilliance, resilience, heart and compassion of, for and with women and those who identify as gender minorities,” Austin said.

Kloski said women could act as a huge presence in today’s world every day.

“What we do in our everyday life guides us to find our path to becoming a woman,” Kloski said. “It is okay to be vulnerable. It is normal to be imperfect.”

As members of an all women’s college, students at Saint Mary’s should build one another up and unite to form a place where they can fully express and develop their emotional, mental and physical identities, Kloski said.

“We need to support one another as women because we each go through the same discrimination,” she said. “It is a recognition that we are all vulnerable and it is a need for unity to understand perfection.”

Kloski said an ambition board was held during lunch hour in the Noble Family Dining Hall on Wednesday to discuss the theme of, “I will be… I am… I admire…”

“Women live in a patriarchal society in which are voice is limited or hushed,” Kloski said. “This week, we want to hear the ‘hushed’ voices.

“The week goes in full depth on how to become a woman with not only a voice, but a mind that is not limited but opens itself to all opportunities.”

Austin said she has all the hope and confidence in the world for the students of Saint Mary’s.

“[The students] all are full of brilliance, tenacity, and resilience,” she said. “Where we can improve is in the area of perfectionism. There is no such thing as perfect.

Though Women’s Appreciation Week only runs through Feb. 28, there will be a showing of the film, “Women, War & Peace” on March 5 to celebrate International Women’s Day, Del Cardenas said.

“We hope that by the end of the week, students are empowered to continue to be catalysts of change, both locally and internationally by hosting diverse point of views on leadership,” Del Cardenas said.

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