Salisbury University Women's Forum Conference addresses inequality and feminism
In light of International Women's Day and a celebration of femininity throughout the campus community, Salisbury University Women’s Forum presented its fourth annual SUWF conference.
As a chapter of the University System of Maryland Women’s Forum, SUWF continually works to provide and promote equality on campus.
This year's conference specifically worked to promote 100 years of women's' voter equality. The conference consisted of five poster presentations and 10 short presentations. This year’s presenters included faculty members from multiple departments and even some students.
The process of putting this conference together started back in the fall, when SUWF sent a call out for papers from the campus community about issues of gender inequality. From those submissions, the presenters were picked.
Dr. Elsie Walker, co-chair of SUWF, spoke about how this year’s number of submissions received was more than ever before. Walker highlighted her excitement in the participation reflecting the interests of the campus on these topics.
The conference was about celebrating firsts and recognizing where firsts still need to occur for those who identify as female. The event was inclusive in that it was advertised for all members of the campus community to attend.
Attendance from all different people was extremely important to Walker. She expressed how these issues were problems for everyone, not just one group of people.
“That it is an ongoing conversation that ideally involves everyone," Walker said. "Not only women, but everyone. Not only faculty, staff or students, but everyone.”
The conference addressed many topics, including intersectionality, the importance of grassroots movements, women self-censorship and how forgetting our history results in reactive measures instead of proactive ones.
Walker felt the most extraordinary part of this conference was that it was SU students and faculty presenting work. It was those that belong to the SU community who were contributing their own work to these conversations.
“This conference isn’t just about a prestigious event where some good speakers offer the polished material," Walker said. "This is about creating a forum that is generous and hope-giving and enlivening and real.”
The conference was a place for members of the campus community to come together and find sisterhood within one another.
During the conference, multiple comments were made about how sisterhood needed to be stronger at SU. It was discussed that many individuals seemed to be having trouble finding a sense of community within the campus community.
Although the initial RSVP numbers indicated that the conference had reached max capacity of 150, the actually attendance was only around 100.
Those in attendance at the conference said that compared to previous years, this particular conference was the best one that SUWF had put on.
The topics discussed at the conference were ones that are difficult to hear and validate. They are conversations that many wish could be avoided and that many do avoid having,
but they are essential to the advancement of women and equally for all.
Salisbury University President Charles Wight made opening remarks at the conference, and he spoke of the importance of addressing these topics at SU.
He made it clear that SU supports this dialogue, and that he hopes that even though the conference is a singular event, that the topics addressed can remain in our minds and dialogue so SU can continue to make steps toward equality.
“Women’s history is SU’s history. Women’s history is our history,” Wight said.
By ANNIE GEITNER
Featured photos by Megan Raymond Images.