FDU recognizes women in business during Women’s History Month 2017

pharmawomenAbove: Fairleigh Dickinson University celebrates the contributions of women today and throughout history with a slate of events this month including a panel discussion featuring many of FDU’s female leaders. Panelists include Gillian Small, University provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Anastasia Rivkin (left), assistant dean in the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; and Julie Kalabalik (right), director of pharmacy practice in the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. (Photos by W. Scott Giglio)

By Madinah Muhammad

Throughout the nation women of all ethnicities, backgrounds, professions and ages are celebrated during the month of March — Women’s History Month. Women’s History Month acknowledges the contributions and impacts that women across America have made in developing and shaping history, culture and society. In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month.

Francesca Degiuli, assistant professor of sociology at the Florham Campus and chair of the Women’s History Month Committee recently talked about what the Florham Campus is doing in recognition of Women’s History Month.

deguiliFDU: Why is it important to observe Women’s History Month?

Francesca Degiuli: Women’s History Month is an important celebration that reminds society at large of the struggles that women have faced in the past and those they are encountering today. Sometimes it is easy to forget important facts, like that women were not able to vote until 1920 or that women are paid only approximately 80% of what men are paid. Furthermore, it is important to show the role that women have played in bringing the country to where it is today.

FDU: Why is it important for female leaders to share their experiences and perspectives with other women?

FD: It is important for both men and women to fully understand how gender operates. Gender is not simply about wearing blue or pink, or about being strong versus being delicate. Gender is a social institution that not only constructs similarities and differences between boys and girls, men and women but also assigns them different roles and different responsibilities, and helps to define different access to resources and opportunities.

FDU: What do you hope to accomplish through the events scheduled in celebration of Women’s History Month?

FD: The events are wide-ranging and they try to do different things. The first event on March 2 celebrated Women’s History Month with a panel titled, Sexual Consent: From Courage to Fear, aimed at bringing attention to a problem that currently affects college campuses across America and beyond.

The trip to see the movie “Hidden Figures” on March 8 aimed at shedding light to the role that women of color played in shaping progress and modernity in this country, something that is in many cases unknown or forgotten.

Seeing Straight: An Introduction to Gender and Sexual Privilege, on March 22 at 4 p.m. in Hartman Lounge, aims at discussing the relationship inherent to sex/gender and power. Men have more power than women in society, but so do heterosexual males and females versus the LGBTQ community. We also want to connect Women’s History Month with the struggle of sexual and gender minorities.

The last panel, Inspiring Female Leaders, on March 28 at 4 p.m. in Lenfell Hall, is geared instead to talk about women and the challenges that they encounter in their careers. The panel aims at addressing some of the realities that women currently encounter in the workplace and to offer suggestions on how to overcome them.

FDU: What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

FD: It is a reminder of how much women have accomplished and, at the same time, a prompt to think about the future and how much needs to be done. It is also a moment to think about where we are in this specific historical moment and to assess what are our goals and responsibilities.

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Women’s History Month 2017 continues at the Florham Campus with The League of Women Voters and FDU Issues Forum: The Wage Gap, in Lenfell Hall on March 20 at 7 p.m., followed by Seeing Straight: An Introduction to Gender and Sexual Privilege, in Hartman Lounge on March 22 at 4 p.m., and concluding with panel discussion Inspiring Female Leaders, in Lenfell Hall on March 28 at 4 p.m. For more information, contact Francesca Degiuli at degiuli@fdu.edu.