Letter-to-the-Editor: Colleran column has ‘misjudgements to the current state of women in our country’
In response to the Women’s Right Gone Wrong article published in the January 14, 2013 issue of the Lanthorn:
Thank you for bringing attention to women’s rights; it is an important issue to discuss. While many of the thoughts in this article are well-intended, we feel they are misjudgments to the current state of women in our country. Are strides being made toward equality? Absolutely. Is society equal for women? Unfortunately, we cannot claim this to be true. Grand Valley State University promotes and supports the learning of all students by actively creating inclusive communities, as this statement from the Division of Inclusion and Equity says “Diversity, in all its forms, is at the heart of Grand Valley’s mission to provide a liberal education that will help shape lives, professions, and societies.” The offices that exist on this campus, LGBT Resource Center, Women’s Center and Office of Multicultural Affairs, exist because historically in the United States, and in West Michigan, these populations have been excluded from many of the benefits and privileges afforded to others. These Centers are about creating space for students to engage with equality and justice issues, and supporting and enriching the experiences of all students. If we as an institution do not address these topics then we would be doing a disservice in providing a quality educational experience. Our Women’s Center’s mission is “To create meaningful learning about women and gender and to advocate for gender justice through the education, engagement, and empowerment of women students and the greater GVSU community.”
Nowhere in this statement does it speak to exclusion or preferential preference.
One can look at the student population at GVSU, and many other universities, and point to the fact that there are more female than male students and say that there is no need for a Women’s Center, but without further examination, we lose sight of deeper issues that inhibit gender equality. If we look at many work settings women are paid less than men doing the same job, not receiving proper benefits, and are still tragically missing from many upper level positions. And with so many political issues on women’s rights, it would be great if there were equal representation of women in public office to make sure that well-informed decisions are being made. We should not mistake the progress made toward equality as being good enough. A Women’s Center on our campus is vital. If you haven’t done so already, I invite you to spend some time in the Center, have a conversation with the students and staff, and learn about the great things they do.
We are men, and it is our hope that we can support all of our students. We believe that women are powerful and have the ability do and achieve great things. It is our hope that we can continue this work together here at Grand Valley.
GVSU’s Men and Masculinity Initiative