‘If these walls could talk’
Part of the 40th anniversary celebration of the Women’s Center, If These Walls Could Talk — part two of four in a brown bag series — will to talk about the history of the struggle for gender equality at the University of Idaho.
Director of the Women’s Center Heather Gasser said a brown bag is a lunchtime panel, lecture or interactive discussion on a certain topic and is called a brown bag because attendees bring their lunch and use their lunchtime to learn.
“The purpose of the brown bag (If These Walls Could Talk) is to tell the story to the current students and make the case that it is a unique position for the Women’s Center to be founded as a result of a study that revolted,” she said.
Jama Sebald, an honored staff retiree who worked as a student financial aid adviser for 32 years, said this event will consist of talking about how UI has struggled for gender equality and how that resulted in the formation of the Women’s Center in November 1972.
“It is a commemoration of allowing the people here now to understand the history of what was behind the establishment of the Women’s Center,” she said.
In the late 60s it showed that the student withdrawal ratio of men to women was much higher for women, she said. Therefore, information was gathered as to why this was and it came down to the lack of women role models on campus.
A university-wide committee was established to look at why this was and come up with strategies in improving women’s visibility on campus and one of them was to create the Women’s Center, Sebald said.
“(We) want all individuals on campus to come, particularly students because we often don’t recognize what the dedication and hard work that went into the various services and offices that are on campus today,” Sebald said. “Students come to campus and think all of these things have always been here. But the early story of how the Women’s Center first got its start is unique and definitely shed light for students who may not realize that they shouldn’t take this for granted and all the things we do.”
The panel will take place from 12:30-2 p.m Wednesday, September 26 in the Whitewater Room in the Idaho Commons.
Emily Aizawa can be reached at email@example.com