Women’s Empowerment Conference Examines Rules of Gender


School News

The third annual Women’s Empowerment Conference was hosted by the Walsh Women’s Empowerment Initiative on Saturday, November 12. This year’s theme, "The Rules of Gender: Pressures, Rules, Rhetoric and Aesthetics of Femininity in an Evolving World," explored the hidden rules and pressures that lead women to conform, experience judgment, and judge themselves in hopes of developing a healthier society for and among women.

Roundtable discussions led by local community members included topics such as Masculinity in Contemporary Society; Women and Image: Body, Media, and Aesthetics; and Women and Spiritual Life: Faith, Spirituality, Meditation, and Mindfulness.  Students from Walsh and other local universities presented on research on Reimagining Gender; Gender and Higher Education; and International Perspectives on Gender. 

The keynote address, "What Will Your Story Be?: Using Storytelling to Make Sense of Privilege," was delivered by Dr. Laura Gronewold, Director of Education of Ben’s Bells Project in Tucson, AZ.

"The idea of storytelling as a practice is something that we do every day, something we become conscious of," said Dr. Gronewold.  "So the more we build awareness of this, the more we start to understand that it is something that helps to deepen our sense of who we are as human beings and something that helps us make meaning of our lives."

After participating in a meeting with the Diversity Council, Dr. Gronewold used the address to provide feedback on Walsh’s initiatives. 

"People find intentional kindness to be a welcoming, non-polarizing issue - something we can participate in at any age, at any income level, from any background and any education level," said Dr. Gronewold.  "We understand kindness as human beings and we really want it right now. I feel optimistic for Walsh. There is some really good work being done here."