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Discussion on leadership in the workforce

by Jaymi Gooden - CAMPUS TALK EDITOR
Tue, Apr 25th 2017 09:00 pm
Emma  Misiaszek/PHOTO EDITOR
INCLUSION ISSUE - The Pancakes with the President event Saturday, April 22, gave those in attendance like BSG President Devin Bonner (above) the chance to tackle current gender issues.
Emma Misiaszek/PHOTO EDITOR INCLUSION ISSUE - The Pancakes with the President event Saturday, April 22, gave those in attendance like BSG President Devin Bonner (above) the chance to tackle current gender issues.
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The American Association of University Women held their "Pancakes with the Prez" event Saturday, April 22, in Eagle's Lookout at The College at Brockport. The event invited students to engage in a panel discussion with President Heidi MacPherson, Former President of the College Senate and Professor of History Alison Parker and Brockport Student Government President Devin Bonner concerning the importance of women in key leadership roles. 

According to current AAUW President Bailey Morse, the Brockport chapter received the Community Action Project Grant, a national grant that allowed them to assemble a month-long series tackling the gender leadership gap. Within that theme, the national association of AAUW gave a sub theme. This year it was "Barriers and Biases". 

"We wanted to expand on that a little," Morse said. "So we asked, what are the barriers and biases that women in leadership roles currently face? And immediately we thought the inclusion issue."

Morse went on to state that fixing the lack of women of color and LGBTQ women in leadership roles is crucial in closing the leadership gap, but also stated that Brockport is very fortunate.

"We have such an amazing team at the college," Morse said. "It's just a matter of getting 

people excited about it and informing them, even if they already think they know about gender."

According to Morse, the Brockport chapter of AAUW has been active on campus for three to four years but have not been able to establish a firm presence due to a lack of funds. However, the grant they recently received from the national organization gave them the push that Morse claims they desperately needed. "Pancakes with the President" is just one event in the series that AAUW calls, "Be the Revolution."

The main topic of discussion revolved around inclusion and diversity in the workplace as well as the issue of misinterpreted definitions of feminism.

"The media has sort of shaped them [feminists] to be these hostile, bra burning sort of anti-men women," Parker responded to one student's question about why the definition of feminism was so heavily distorted in today's society. "Whereas all feminism really means is that you're supporting the equality of men and women in society."

Parker, a professor of race and gender with a specialization in African-American history at Brockport, also spoke to the audience on how race, gender and sexual orientation not only deeply intertwine with one another and the leadership gap, but also how it can affect some individuals' interpretations of organizations similar to AAUW. 

Also, how problematic it can be if individuals don't get rid of the stigma.

"Even today I think there are young women who are afraid to say, 'Hey, I went to a feminist club' because they don't want to be labeled as a lesbian which was very marginalized early on," Parker said.  "It's still problematic but it shouldn't be. It shouldn't be the case where a specific sexual orientation is put in a negative light but that is how they undermine women's claims to an equal society."

Throughout the panel discussion, members of AAUW, student leaders and BSG executives continued to eat breakfast  and partook in the convesation as they listened to Parker, Macpherson and Bonner share their stories on how they have overcome adversity throughout their careers and how they work across gender differences to ensure the greatest success of all.

@alwaysjay_lynn

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