Women's Empowerment Series
SCSU Women's Center
February 17 - Assertiveness & Conflict Resolution
February 24 - Body Language
March 3 - Self Esteem
March 17 - Healthy Relationships
March 24 - Sexuality
Registration fee: $5.00
Download Poster (pdf)
The Vagina Monologues
7:00pm Atwood Ballroom
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009
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Download Program Guide (pdf)
The choices, opportunities and lives of women in the U.S. have changed
dramatically in the past 40 to 50 years because of visionary and active women’s
movements. Feminist activism, landmark decisions, litigation, legislation and
the sometimes quiet revolutions in homes, workplaces and religious institutions
have led to significant improvements in the rights and lives of many, but
not all, women in the U.S. This series examines the ways in which women’s
strengths, courage and activism have led to monumental systemic change in
our society. In addition, presenters will analyze and offer solutions to the many
forms of discrimination still harming women and their choices today. Learning
about the struggles and progress from the past will help women continue to
shape the course of their futures.
mp3January 22, 2014
Breaking the Silence: “I Had an Abortion”
Forty-one years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in
the landmark legal case, Roe vs. Wade. The debate about abortion
continues to rage on in the public policy arena, but what about the
private sphere? For multiple reasons, women talking openly about
abortion is very rare in today’s society despite the fact that 35% of
all women in the U.S. will have an abortion by the age of 45. This
film gives voice to women that chose abortion when faced with a
- “Why talk about our abortions? Nearly 1.3 million women get
abortions each year in the U.S. alone. For most, it is a secret. The
debate itself is loud and paralyzing while the voices of the women
who get abortions are submerged.” I Had an Abortion, directed
by Gillian Aldrich and co-produced by Jennifer Baumgardner,
documents the stories of 11 women ranging in age from 21 to 85.
The film cuts across race, religion, region, class, sexuality, and
politics—demonstrating that abortion affects all women. The film is
55 minutes long.
January 29, 2014:
The Truth about Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs)
Two years ago, NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota Foundation (NPCMF)
released a report about a year-long undercover investigation into
the state-funded “crisis pregnancy centers,” or CPCs, operated
by anti-choice organizations. NPCMF investigated 15 of these
23 crisis pregnancy centers, funded under the Minnesota Positive
Alternatives Act. The intent of the Act is to help women with
unplanned pregnancies receive services such as parent education
classes, transitional housing and care coordination. Despite the
intent, the research reveals that funding is being used to dissuade
women from choosing legal abortion. In summary, the report,
“State-Funded Deception: Minnesota’s Crisis Pregnancy Centers,”
uncovers a disturbing pattern of deceptive and misleading practices
at these unregulated centers. Join us to learn about the 2011
report and newly-released data on the operating practices of crisis
Presenters: Linnea House, Dana Johnson
- Linnea House is the Executive Director of NARAL
Pro-Choice Minnesota, serving in the capacity since 2007. Prior
to joining the staff, House served as President of the NARAL Pro-
Choice Minnesota Foundation Board of Directors from 2005-2007.
She has worked in the reproductive health field for over 15 years,
most recently with Midwest Health Center for Women and Pro-
Choice Resources. House has a degree in English and Women’s
Studies from St. Olaf College, and a Master’s in Non-Profit
Management from Hamline University.
- Dana Johnson was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin.
She is currently a senior at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities,
where she is majoring in Sociology (BA) with a minor in Social
Justice, emphasizing women’s studies and reproductive justice.
Johnson is an officer for the University Pro-Choice Coalition at the
University of Minnesota and interns with the campus-organizing
program for NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota.
February 5, 2014:
Health Care and Money: What it means for
Keep reading please! If you think you might have a baby someday
(or already have children), if you want screenings for cervical
cancer and breast cancer, if you choose to use birth control in
order to plan your family, if you deal with anxiety, depression
or disordered eating? Or, if you want to stay healthy and prevent
health problems, then this session is for you! The bottom line is
you need Health Insurance! These are two words that you must
appreciate in order to take advantage of the Affordable Health
Care Act. Join us to learn about no cost or low cost health
insurance in an informal and fun session.
Presenter: Ralonda Mason
- Ralonda Mason is a supervising attorney at
Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid where she focuses on public assistance
programs including healthcare programs. She has worked
extensively in the implementation of health reform serving on the
Governor’s Health Reform Task Force and leading Project Care, an
education and enrollment outreach initiative in Central Minnesota.
Mason is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Southern
Methodist University School of Law. She has been advising clients
and providing administrative advocacy on health care issues for
more than 25 years.
Co-sponsored by Student Health Services
mp3February 12, 2014:
The Beauty and Challenge of Living in Multiple Worlds
“Powerful, raw, honest” are words used to describe the
three performance pieces hosted at this session. Each of our
presenters explores a topic such as race and the significance
of hair, navigating two (and more) cultures and ethnic labels,
and discovering unique perspectives of self-identity. Through
performance, story-telling, reflection and poetry, three women
weave a web of meaning, acceptance, challenge and authenticity.
Their examination and discoveries get at the heart of what it means
to be a strong woman in 2014.
Presenters: Dr. Niloufer Merchant
- Dr. Niloufer Merchant is a professor in the
Community Psychology undergraduate and Community Counseling
Graduate programs at St. Cloud State University. She is an active
member of the American Counseling Association and has served as
the President of the Association for Specialists in Group Work. She
has held other leadership positions, including Department Chair,
Board President for the Multicultural Center of Central Minnesota,
Interim Director of the SCSU Women’s Center, and Interim Cultural
Diversity Director for the St. Cloud School District. Her research
and interest areas include group work, multicultural counseling and
competence, mind-body healing, and social justice issues.
- Dr. Tami Spry is a Professor of Performance Studies in the
Communication Studies Department at St. Cloud State University.
Her teaching, publication, and performance work focuses on issues
of gender violence, mental health, race, and loss as articulated
through performing autoethnography and non-traditional texts. Spry’s
publications appear in Text and Performance Quarterly, Cultural
Studies/Critical Methodologies, Qualitative Inquiry, International
Review of Qualitative Research, Women and Language, as well
as various anthologies. Her book Body/Paper/Stage: Writing and
Performing Autoethnography was published through Left Coast Press
- Hedy Tripp is an activist, educator, consultant and manager of
W-Isms, LLC. She is also the Board Chair of the National Asian
Pacific Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and treasurer of the local St.
Cloud chapter. Tripp has taught Asian American Studies and
Human Relations at St. Cloud State University. She has been the
recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Virginia
McKnight Binger Award in Human Service and the Dennis Thayer
award for Excellence in Leadership.
mp3February 19, 2014:
“Badass” vs. “Hot Mess:” Deconstructing sexist
portrayals of women
Miley Cyrus, Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears, Amanda Bynes;
What do all of these women have in common? They all flood
the computer screen after a google images search of “Hot Mess
Celebs.” Does this imply that male celebrities are symbols of
innocence and perfection? Of course not. This shows us that
standards for men and women are drastically different. Why are
these female celebrities considered a “Hot Mess,” while male stars
who exhibit similar behaviors, such as Charlie Sheen and Robin
Thicke, are considered comedic and “Badass?” Join us to explore
the double standards of pop culture and the implications it has for
women in today’s society.
Presenter: Dr. Roya Akhavan
- Dr. Roya Akhavan is currently Professor
and Director of Graduate Studies at the Department of Mass
Communications at St. Cloud State University. She is an awardwinning
professor whose honors include recognitions as “Teacher
of the Year,” “Outstanding Graduate Professor,” “Outstanding
Achievement as V.P. for International Marketing,” and “Outstanding
College Leadership.” Dr. Akhavan’s areas of teaching and research
focus on theory and methodology, media management and policy,
and international communication
Professor Akhavan has lived and worked in four different cultures,
Persian, Japanese, American, and Chinese. Dr. Akhavan’s
book entitled Peace for Our Planet: A New Approach (Kinseido
Publishers, Tokyo, 1992) was a bestseller in its own genre in
Japan, and was widely used as a textbook in Japanese universities.
Professor Akhavan maintains an active role in community and
professional service. She is a frequent speaker at academic and
community forums and radio and television broadcasts on global
issues, including eliminating the root causes of war, gender
equality, and spirituality in the 21st century.
mp3February 26, 2014:
Examining the “L” in LGBT
Part of OUTOPROUD Week
The last two years have been momentous for the LGBT movement as
legal and social rights facing this community were at the forefront
of national and Minnesota consciousness. More than ever before,
it is acceptable to be LGBT in the U.S! However, ‘acceptable’ is
not enough, nor does this acknowledge the continued complexity of
issues faced by lesbians. These issues include visibility in the LGBT
and broader communities, “acceptability” based on where one
falls on the continuum of traditional femininity/masculinity scales,
heteronormativity as a social control through fetishized media and
pornography; and, finally, language. Are they gay, lesbian, queer
and/or other? The aim of this panel is to deconstruct the problems
created by stereotypes, invisibility, co-opting of lesbian culture and
discrimination and bias in various forms. A multigenerational panel
will speak and share stories from their various identities and their
Presenters: Kimberly Duong, Karen Thompson
- Kimberly Duong is a second year student at St.
Cloud State University majoring in Political Science and minoring
in Film Studies. She is currently Co-Chair of the Queer People
of Color group (QPOC) on campus as well as a member of
OUTLOUD!, Women’s Action and the College Democrats.
- Karen Thompson retired after 36 years as a professor at St.
Cloud State University. She gained national recognition following
the November 13, 1983 car accident of her partner Sharon
Kowalski. Following the accident, Sharon’s biological family
refused to acknowledge or accept Sharon’s relationship with Karen
and kept them apart for more than 3 ½ years. As a result of these
actions, Karen came out and began her nearly decade long legal
battle for guardianship and for Sharon’s right to come home.
She spoke across the country not just to tell the story of her fight
for Sharon to move home, but also to raise awareness for legal
protection for lesbian and gay relationships.
Co-sponsored by the LGBT Resource Center, OUTLOUD! and the
mp3March 5, 2014:
Behind Prison Walls: “Sin by Silence”
An extraordinary group of women are shattering misconceptions
about domestic violence from behind prison walls. Convicted
Women Against Abuse (CWAA) is the U.S. prison system’s first
inmate-initiated group led by women. Founded in 1989, by Brenda
Clubine, CWAA has changed laws for battered women, raised
awareness for those on the outside, and educated a system that
does not fully comprehend the complexities of domestic abuse.
Because of CWAA’s work and advocacy, new laws have been
enacted that now allow incarcerated survivors to challenge their
- With unprecedented access inside the California Institution
for Women, this emotionally packed documentary shatters the
misconceptions of domestic abuse. “Sin by Silence”, directed by
Olivia Klaus, tells the stories of courageous women who have
learned from their past, are changing their future, and teaching us
how domestic violence affects each and every person. The film is
49 minutes long.
mp3March 19, 2014:
Xenophobia, the Current Racism in St. Cloud
In a post 9/11 America, suspicion of other races and religions
is actively encouraged as a matter of ‘national security.’ Due to
this encouraged ignorance of other cultures, races and religions,
people of color are often treated with mistrust and met with blatant
racism and isolation. St. Cloud as a community is no exception.
The arrival of Somali immigrants and refugees settling in Central
Minnesota during the last decade has been met with suspicion
and discrimination. The controversy surrounding the creation of
a new Muslim community center in St. Cloud illustrates the types
of obstacles faced by immigrant communities. Our panelists
will share their experiences in the community and address how
these experiences affect their daily lives, as well as offering their
perspectives and solutions to the problem.
- A multigenerational panel of Somali women will share their experiences and perspectives.
mp3March 26, 2014:
A Woman Who Rocks!
Women entering or working in STEM fields (Science, Technology,
Engineering and Math), continue to be vastly underrepresented at
all levels—as students, faculty, administration and researchers. The
reasons for this are diverse, but include gender stereotyping and
subtle and overt discrimination, coupled with negative messages to
girls and women plus work environments that inhibit work/family
balance. However, progress has occurred and the number of role
models is steadily growing.
Women who are engaged in science based fields have unique
experiences that should be heard. Young women, who are
examining their options for entering STEM fields, can learn from
experienced and successful women who have excelled and
overcome obstacles. This session features one of our own, namely
Dr. Kate Pound, a geologist who has worked in Antarctica, and
co-authored a lab textbook on Earth’s Climate History.
Presenter: Dr. Kate Pound
- Dr. Kate Pound is a Geology Professor in the
Department of Atmospheric and Hydrologic Sciences at St. Cloud
State University. She is a geologist with research and teaching
interests that center around provenance studies, stratigraphy, and
tectonics, with a focus on field work. Dr. Pound has worked in New
Zealand, Australia, Alaska, California, and Mexico. In 2007, she
spent two and a half months in Antarctica with the ANDRILL Project,
where sediment-core research was undertaken to better understand
the past 20 million years of climate change.
mp3April 2, 2014:
Body Image Internalized
In 2013, Abercrombie and Fitch told us that beauty is limited to
sizes 0-8, popular magazines continued to show us that the ideal
body is an airbrushed supermodel, and the concept of maintaining
a gap between your thighs has become a new standard for
beauty. With messages like these staring women in the face on
a daily basis, how could we not internalize negative thoughts
about our own bodies? Join us for a session that will explore
the internalization of body image and what many are doing to
counteract these messages.
Presenters: Nikki Jagodzinski, Dr. Kyoko Kishimoto
- Nikki Jagodzinski is the Coordinator of the
Suicide Prevention Program PACC (Promoting a Caring Community)
at St. Cloud State University. She has a Master’s Degree in College
Counseling and Student Development from St. Cloud State and a
bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University
of North Dakota. Jagodzinski has lived with Rheumatoid Arthritis
since infancy. She joins us to share her views on body image
and media representation from the perspective of a woman with a
disability. She is also the mother of two teenage daughters.
- Dr. Kyoko Kishimoto is an Associate Professor in the Ethnic
and Women’s Studies Department at St. Cloud State University.
She is the Interim Director of the Women’s Studies Program and
the Director of the Asian Pacific American Studies Minor. On
campus, Kishimoto is active in the Anti-Racist Pedagogy Across the
Curriculum initiative. Off campus, she is involved in the St. Cloud
Chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum,
an organization whose mission is to build a movement to advance
social justice and human rights for Asian and Pacific Islander
women and girls.
mp3April 9, 2014:
Presentation: The Future of Feminist Activism - Noon
Film: “IT WAS RAPE” - 6:00pm
NOON - The Future of Feminist Activism - Presentation
This session focuses on the diversity of feminist activism and its
impacts. Activism has clearly been fundamentally changed by
technology. Today’s generation of activists are rarely seen in the
streets protesting en mass; but rather, they make their voices heard
online by commenting, blogging and posting in social media,
signing online petitions, and making YouTube videos. While this
can be beneficial for improving the outreach of the message, it
does not bring people together in the same ways that the protests
of the 60’s and 70’s did. Baumgardner will talk about what feminist
activism looks like today, coupled with her perspectives on the
effectiveness of different strategies for inspiring people to become
advocates in today’s complex world.
Presenter: Jennifer Baumgardner
- Jennifer Baumgardner is a writer, activist,
filmmaker, and lecturer whose work explores abortion, sex,
bisexuality, rape, single parenthood, and women’s power. She is
the Executive Director/Publisher at The Feminist Press at CUNY.
She moved to New York City after graduation and began working
as an unpaid intern for Ms. magazine in 1993. By 1997,
Baumgardner had become the youngest editor at Ms. Magazine.
She has since written for numerous magazines, including Glamour,
The Nation, Babble, and Maxim and written and produced two
films, “I Had an Abortion” and “It Was Rape."
6:00 PM - "It Was Rape" - Film
Film Screening and Discussion with Filmmaker Jennifer Baumgardner
6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Ritsche Auditorium, Stewart Hall
Rape is wrong, illegal, reprehensible—and yet still tragically
common. In this film, eight women tell their diverse personal stories
of sexual assault, from a Midwestern teenager trying alcohol for the
first time to a Native American woman gradually coming to terms
with her abusive childhood. Gripping and emotional, this film is
an opportunity to empathize with people—not just absorb faceless
statistics—and to puncture the silence and denial that allow sexual
assault to thrive. Ultimately, these stories shed light on how this
epidemic affects us all.
Presenter: Jennifer Baumgardner
- Jennifer Baumgardner is a writer, activist, filmmaker, and
lecturer whose work explores abortion, sex, bisexuality, rape, single
parenthood, and women’s power. She is the Executive Director/
Publisher at The Feminist Press at CUNY.
After five years as an editor at the feminist magazine, Ms.(1993-
1997), Baumgardner began writing investigative pieces for
Harper’s and The Nation, commentaries for NPR’s All Things
Considered, and contributing to magazines such as Real Simple,
Glamour, Redbook, Babble, Harper’s Bazaar, Teen Vogue, Marie
Claire, and Elle.
In 2005 Baumgardner created and produced the award-winning
documentary I Had an Abortion. In 2013, she released her second
film, It Was Rape, which tells the story of eight diverse women.
Baumgardner and her work have been featured in venues
from Oprah to NPR, and BBC News Hour to Bitch Magazine. She
is the author of five books. In 2002, Baumgardner along with and
Amy Richards founded Soapbox, Inc., a speakers’ bureau that also
produces week-long Feminist Camps and Intensives. Soapbox and
its projects connect people hungry for feminism with resources and
with one another.
Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, Jennifer lives in New York
City with her husband and two sons.
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