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Creating a safe space for tough issues

pg4-image3_bekkiVoices For Women promotes activism through weekly general body meetings and student events, providing Rollins students with an outlet to talk about women’s rights.

Rebecca Charbonneau ’16 has been involved in running Voices For Women as one of the three co-presidents since the start of the Fall semester.

“General body meetings are always open to anyone who wants to come,” Charbonneau said. “Typically, we choose a theme and then have a discussion based around that theme.”

Discussion themes vary but are often influenced by current events that pertain to infringements on individual rights or other social justice topics.

For example, previous meetings have revolved around women who could replace Alexander Hamilton on the ten-dollar bill, dating as a feminist, and intersections between the feminist and queer movements. General body meetings are informal opportunities to discuss ideas about social justice.

“[The discussion] doesn’t always stay on point,” Charbonneau said. “A lot of times, people want to talk about other things and the conversation drifts, but that’s kind of part of the fun. It’s having a bunch of feminists in a room together hashing out their ideas and their experiences.”

Voices For Women aims to create an open environment for discussion, regardless of the topic.

“We really want Voices to function as a place where ideas can flow freely, where people who don’t know a lot about social justice or don’t know a lot about feminism can come and ask questions that may be awkward or uncomfortable. We’re willing to have a safe space where people can learn new things and where we can learn from them, too,” Charbonneau said.

In addition to weekly meetings, Voices has hosted a variety of events this semester, such as a Steven Universe watch party followed by a discussion of gender and sexuality in the episodes.

The next major event is the Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon, hosted by the Sexuality, Women’s, and Gender Studies department and Voices For Women.

Charbonneau explained, “Wikipedia has a lot of information on famous artists and art movements, but if you look at the information about female artists, it’s disproportionately empty compared to male artists. The Art+Feminism organization, which is a larger movement, has artists and art historians go online and spend their time in these events adding information to an artist. We’ll be having tutorials and people helping each other out during the event.”

To get involved with Voices For Women, Charbonneau recommended reaching out via Facebook or stopping by the Lucy Cross Center, which she calls “the hub for Voices.” She also encourages students to get involved in other events hosted by the SWAG department.

Voices For Women holds general body meetings every Tuesday between 12:45 and 1:45 p.m. in the Lucy Cross Center, and the Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon will be held on November 17 at 5:30 p.m. in the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.

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