Young Women Leader Program Starts Second Year


YWLP Mentors 2015-16

In the beginning weeks of the second year of the Young Women Leaders Program, we are extremely excited to get started. Over the past few weeks we have been training the mentors and will continue to do so until tomorrow, October 7th.

So far, we have had three amazing guest speakers from the OU faculty come to lend advice and resources on how to be the best mentor possible. Char Kopchick came from the Campus Involvement Center to give the mentors a little insight on what it is like to be a middle schooler again. From Counseling and Psychological Services, Angela Harris prepared students to better understand their own minds and the minds of their mentees. Most recently, Sarah Fick, of The Sexual Assault Prevention Program, presented on Appalachian Identities.

We are so looking forward to matching up and introducing our mentors and mentees in the coming weeks.

More to come!

-Leah Brown

YWLP Facilitator and Women’s Center Staff

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WC Mentoring Program Applications due FRIDAY OCT. 2!!

The deadline for the Women’s Center Mentoring Program, which matches junior and senior women-identified students with a professional in their field, is this Friday, Oct 2. You can pick up an application at the Women’s Center, or download at

The goal of the program is to enrich the student experience at Ohio University and to pair students with a mentor who can offer guidance and assist them in reaching their personal and professional goals.  These goals may include career choice exploration, networking, becoming a more confident interviewee, balancing work and home life, learning professional etiquette, job hunting, planning for graduate school, professional development and the like.

Keep the applications coming!

Cindy Crabb

Women’s Center Graduate Assistant

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We have all seen the popular #WomanCrushWednesday hashtag thrown over social media, attached to celebrities’ most glamorous photos or a picture posted by an admiring significant other. My #WomanHeroMonthly  is a new and empowering take on the hashtag! Women heroes are celebrities who use their platform to stand up for our rights as women and speak out against injustices. This is important because celebrities are often times accused of not being relatable or in touch with today’s issues. The few bold enough to stand up and say their opinion – not as a business or brand, but as a person – are inspiring to me. month’s #WomanHeroMonthly is actress Viola Davis, not only for being the first black woman to win an Emmy for Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series, but for addressing the lack of roles available to black women in Hollywood in her acceptance speech. Although Davis won her Emmy for her portrayal of Annalise Keating on ‘How to Get Away with Murder,’ she is no stranger to the screen, starring in films such as ‘The Help’, ‘Eat Pray Love’, ‘ Get on Up’, among many others.

In her acceptance speech, she touches on being close enough to be embraced by white actresses, but hardly is ever put in the positions that they are. She quoted Harriet Tubman stating: ‘In my mind, I see a line. And over that line, I see green fields and lovely flowers and beautiful white women with their arms stretched out to me, over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.’ She states there isn’t a lack of talented black actresses in Hollywood, it’s the lack of roles (especially lead roles) available that give them opportunity to shine. I understood where she was coming from, there is only so many times that black actresses can be type cast as the sassy black friend or the dutiful housekeeper who knows more about what’s going on with the kids than the wife does.

While Viola speaking out against the lack of diversity doesn’t create new roles, for the few minutes she had our attention she used her victory to provoke thought about the last time we saw a black actress in a lead role, and the silence spoke volumes. Viola is my woman hero this month because she uses the roles that she do get to make an impact in every community she embodies, is assisting in the redefinition of what it means to be “beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be black”, and can do all of that looking absolutely stunning every time.

-Alexandria Bailey

Women’s Center Staff

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Why I Wear Make-up

Anna Neawedde, Women's Center Staff

Anna Neawedde, Women’s Center Staff

When I was about 7 years old, I remember going to a tent sale with my father. As I looked around at all the toys, something special caught my eye. It was in a plastic compact case, filled with several colorful squares and a little sponge brush for application. My little hands immediately reached for it, and begged my dad to buy it for me. I was so excited to finally have my own make-up, however my excitement was promptly squashed when I opened up the compact case to realize that it was only play make-up. I was extremely disappointed, but not discouraged. I spent many hours begging my mom for make-up only to receive responses about how unnecessary it would be for me to wear make-up and how I don’t need it to be pretty.

It’s no secret to my friends and family that I am passionate about make-up and beauty products, and I receive a range of positive and negative comments regularly about it. I’ve had people tell me I don’t need make-up, that I use it because I’m insecure about my appearance, and I’ve also had people that are very supportive and encouraging. I am proud to say that besides the occasional off day, I don’t worry about my looks. I don’t need to look perfect to be happy. Between the time I graduated high school and began school here at Ohio University, my passion for beauty and make-up products is for my own personal self expression. I’ve been seen around campus many times rocking rainbow eyeshadow and a ridiculous amount of blush. I could go with a look that simply enhances my natural features, however, sometimes I don’t want to. Sometimes I don’t want to wear any make-up at all, and sometimes I want to wear every single product I own.

Make-up is traditionally viewed as a beauty enhancer for women. It is culturally accepted in our society that women wear make-up to look “more beautiful” and subtly enhance natural features. But as an intersectional feminist and makeup lover, I no longer believe it is for women to look more beautiful. It’s how I express myself, and can be used by people of all genders and sexual orientations for expression. Tomorrow I may wake up and want to rock a bright green lipstick to match my shoes. As a society we should encourage each other to express ourselves as we choose, and not feel pressured to wear mascara simply to conform to beauty ideals. Instead, we can use make-up to empower each other as another outlet for self-expression.

My 3-year-old niece this summer asked me many questions several times a day about makeup after seeing me wear it. She would often, and still does, ask me for lipstick, and when I don’t wear it she asks why. Not wanting to discourage her from choosing to wear it someday by saying something along the lines “because I don’t need it today,” instead I tell her that some days wearing makeup isn’t fun. I want her to know that it’s okay to wear and it’s okay not to wear, it just depends on her personal choice. However we choose to express ourselves, whether it be our clothes, hair, or makeup, can all be wonderful and freeing.

-Anna Neawedde

Women’s Center Student Staff

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My Trip to the Navajo Nation


Our class overlooking Spider Rock

Over the summer, I was fortunate enough to enroll in the Navajo Nation Cultural Immersion Service Learning program through our Global Opportunities Office. We spent two weeks on the Navajo Nation, doing service work, being educated about Navajo cultures and experiences, and touring the area. It was an incredible experience and I learned a lot of wonderful things. I thought I’d highlight some of the experiences that are most closely related to the work we do in the Women’s Center.

The Kinaalda Ceremony

The Kinaalda ceremony is the celebration of a young woman’s first menstruation. Although not everyone choose to practice this ceremony, it traditionally lasts four days and ends with a ceremony that lasts the entire evening. This website provides a great overview. It was really neat to see such a different cultural take on menstruation. Western culture treats menstruation as something dirty and shameful that should be hidden. I loved to imagine what a difference it would make if all of us were raised to celebrate and value menstruation as an important part of life.

Matrilineal Culture

Navajo society is matrilineal! This means that families trace their lines through the mother. Western U.S. society is patrilineal (this is clear in the traditions we have, such as  a wife and children taking the husband’s/father’s last name). In Navajo society, a person identifies themselves with the names of their four clans beginning with their mother’s clan. One is from their mother’s clan, born for their father’s clan, and then the maternal and paternal grandfathers’ clans.

To learn more about the histories of Indigenous women, I recommend the documentary A Thousand Voices.

Miss Navajo

Miss Navajo Nation Contestants

Miss Navajo Nation Contestants, 2014. Picture from:

Miss Navajo is a pageant that was inspired by Miss America, but is very different! Miss Navajo Nation is a pageant that focuses on contestants showcasing their knowledge of traditional Navajo talents. Contestants must be able to speak Navajo, butcher a sheep, and engage in other traditional talents such as singing or dancing. Girls and young women can compete in these types of royalty pageants from very young ages, learning traditional skills and being rewarded for their knowledge.

Navajo Women are Making a Difference!

In preparation from our trip I researched a number of different people who are taking a stand against injustice in their communities. The first is a young woman named Jamie Lynn Butler. Here’s a video which features Jamie talking about the work she has done to preserve our environment.

Amanda Blackhorse

Amanda Blackhorse

Next is Amanda Blackhorse. Amanda is a Navajo plaintiff in a case filed against the Washington Redsk*ns football team. Democracy Now has an interview with Blackhorse in which she eloquently explains the reasons that the name is so offensive. Because of this case, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the football team’s trademark registration. This doesn’t force the team to change their name, but it does make it hard for them to protect their name from third party use. As of now the team still refuses to change their name.

Valerie Taliman

Valerie Taliman

And Valerie Taliman! She is the president of Three Sisters Media and wrote a five part series for Indian Country Today on the deaths of hundreds of Native women for which she won a NAJA’s (Native American Journalist Association) Richard LaCourse Award. Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is a huge problem. Futures Without Violence offers these shocking statistics:

—”American Indian women residing on Indian reservations suffer domestic violence and physical assault at rates far exceeding women of other ethnicities and locations. A 2004 Department of Justice report estimates these assault rates to be as much as 50% higher than the next most victimized demographic.”

—”Federal government studies have consistently shown that American Indian women experience much higher levels of sexual violence than other women in the U.S. Data gathered by the U.S. Department of Justice indicates that Native American and Alaskan Native women are more than 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than women in the USA in general (5 vs. 2 per 1,000).”

This is an epidemic of violence that we need to be aware of and push our government to address! The 2013 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provided some protection for Native American women, but we still have a long way to go.

After reading this post, I encourage you to continue to educate yourself about the issues that Indigenous communities are facing around the country and the world. We can’t make things better if we don’t know the problems!

Sarah Tucker Jenkins

Women’s Center Program Coordinator

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Aging in Athens: The Athens Village

This Thursday, September 17, Patty Mercer, Director of The Athens Village, will be speaking at the Women’s Center about her role and the role of The Athens Village in the nation-wide effort to create healthy aging options for senior citizens.

The Athens Village is not a place, but a concept, helping members stay independent, healthy and secure in their home in their community, among friends and familiar places. They are organized and run entirely by and for citizens of Athens County, but

it is one of a growing number of such groups across the country with the common goal of enabling senior citizens to age well in their own homes.

As a music therapy major and someone who aspires to work with senior citizens, I can say that I believe in this concept so strongly. Independence and familiarity is so important for aging adults. So many men and women are still very capable of living on their own, in their home, in their community, yet they are forced to move to a facility just because they have a lack of family members, friends, or caretakers. There is no reason help should not be brought to them, where they are most comfortable, as opposed to making them go where help is, leaving everything they know and love.

I am quite interested in hearing Patty Mercer discuss what healthy aging means here in Athens, and I hope you will join us as well.

Brown Bag Lunch and Learn:

Healthy Aging: It Takes a Village

Thursday, September 17, at 12pm in Baker 403

Thanks for reading,

Anna Bekavac

Ohio University Women’s Center Staff

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Welcome HOUme Fall 2015

The Ohio University Women’s Center welcomes you back for another school year!

Here I (purple shorts) am at Pittsburgh Pride 2015

Hello! I’m Anna B, blog “editor in chief” again this year. How was your summer? I spent mine with family and friends in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. A definite highlight of my summer was walking in the Pride Parade during Pittsburgh Pride 2015. I was invited to walk with/in support of two of the most thoughtful, compassionate, “newly wed” (PA recognized same sex marriage in May 2014!) women I know. They’ve been in my life since I was a preschooler, but I didn’t always know they were a couple. Now I know they are THE couple and I felt so honored and proud to be there on their behalf.

I hope your first two weeks went well and your transition back has been smooth. The Women’s Center has been planning more and more events and programs for you this fall! Events are starting right away in in the Women’s Center- Baker 403 unless noted:

Women’s Center staff 2015-2016 from left to right: Alex Bailey, Anna Neawedde, Madeleine Toerne, Leah Brown, Anna Bekavac, Sarah Jenkins, and Cindy Crabb

Friday, Sept. 4th- 4-6pm: Personal Safety & Self Defense Workshop

Tuesday, Sept. 15th- 12-1pm: How to Write a Competitive AAUW Fellowship Workshop

Thursday, Sept. 17th, 12pm: Brown Bag: “Healthy Aging: It Takes a Village”

Thursday, Sept. 17th- 4pm: Film Screening of The Purity Myth

Thursday, Sept. 24, 12pm: Brown Bag: “Drugless Heal Modalities: Homeopathy/Reflexology & More”

Thursday, Oct. 1st- 5pm: Robyn Ochs Workshop

Thursday, Oct. 8th- 4pm: Film Screening of The Bro Code: How Contemporary Culture Creates Sexist Men 

Tuesday, Oct. 13th- 3pm in the Mahn Center (Alden 5th Floor): LGBT & Women- Themed Alden Library Rare Book Vault Tour & Touch Lab

Thursday, Oct. 15th- All Day: Love Your Body Day

Tuesday, Oct. 20th- 6pm (Ellis 111): Meet & Greet with our new WC Director, Dr. Geneva Murray, followed by the Global Google Hangout: Fat Activism.

Thursday, Nov. 12th- 4pm: Film Screening of Girl Rising 

***Thursday, Nov. 19- 3-6pm: The Women’s Center and ohiowomen invite you to an Open House to celebrate all OHIO women and help welcome Geneva Murray, our new Director of the Women’s Center! All OHIO women welcome!

We hope to see you at an event or two this semester! Thanks for reading.

For a full calendar of events, check out our Facebook Page or our Google Calendar.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Anna Bekavac

Women’s Center Staff

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