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February 26, 2014

'Gender glasses' to promote awareness for women's day, month

gender glasses

Up to 5,000 pairs of gender glasses like these will be distributed starting Monday (March 3) by the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. (Image provided)
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Gender (still) Matters! is the focus of the March 3-7 "Get Your Glasses On!" campaign on the West Lafayette campus, organized by the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program to mark International Women's Day and Women's History Month.

The WGSS program at Purdue challenges the Purdue community to "see gender" both in terms of gender inequalities and the ubiquity of gender as a facet of our social existence. In addition to wearing "gender glasses" highlighting the commitment to seeing the way that gender, gender expression, and gender identity shape our world, the program is hosting or co-sponsoring:

* A film screening of "Girl Rising" about girls' struggles for education around the world.
* A roundtable discussion on educating girls and women in India.
* A lecture by global activist and stateswoman Melanne Verveer. 

But the most direct form that this challenge will take is the distribution of 5,000 pairs of "gender glasses" during the week leading up to International Women's Day, closing with a celebration of the "Get Your Glasses On!" campaign with a IWD Fest at 7-8:30 p.m. Friday (March 7) in the co-rec's Feature Gym.

"What do you see when you change your angle of vision and put your 'gender glasses' on?" asks TJ Boisseau, director of the WGSS program and associate professor of history. "Our 'Get Your Glasses On!' campaign is meant to raise awareness of all the ways that gender shapes our everyday lives, experiences, decisions, and options. We invite the entire Purdue community and beyond to wear our 'gender glasses.'"

International Women's Day, observed in many countries and designated as an official holiday in some, is March 8. For more information on International Women's Day, go to www.internationalwomensday.com. In the United States, March is Women's History Month based on the March 1913 women's suffrage "parade" in Washington, D.C. For more on the original march in March, go to http://womenshistorymonth.gov.

"International Women's Day is an opportunity to focus our vision on how women's lives the world over are both linked and diverse, in struggle and triumph, to bring value and dignity to all women as workers. Women's History Month is a reminder each year that today's women benefit from a long history of women as leaders, activists, and change makers in every avenue of life," Boisseau says.

"Our 'Get Your Glasses On!' campaign brings together these purposes and broadens their twinned mission to bring our collective attention to all the ways that inequalities surrounding gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation as well as race and class, impact our lives -- ways that remain all too invisible when we fail to pay attention."

Get Your Glasses

Gender glasses will be distributed in all WGSS classes as well as the following locations Monday and Tuesday (March 3-4):

* Neil Armstrong Hall lobby -- 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
* Lilly Hall lobby -- 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
* Beering Hall lobby -- Noon-1 p.m.
* Windsor, Wiley and Earhart dining courts -- 5:30-7 p.m.
* Purdue Memorial Union, Great Hall -- 12:30-3 p.m. (Tuesday only).

Interested persons also can come to WGSS main office in Beering Hall, Room 6164, starting Wednesday (March 5) to get a pair of glasses while the supply lasts.

Events of the week (March 3-7)

Monday -- Film screening and response: "Girl Rising" (2013, documentary, 101 min., rated PG-13). Theme: Power of education in lifting nine girls in various countries; each story told by a noted writer in that country. 6 p.m. Rawls Hall, Room 1086. URL for film: www.imdb.com/title/tt2444946/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Tuesday -- Roundtable discussion: "Educating Women in India for the 21st Century." Featuring Sr. Ananda Amrhitmahal, president of Sophia College in Mumbai, India; and Alok Chaturvedi, professor of management and founding director of Purdue Homeland Security Institute. 3-4:30 p.m. Beering Hall, Room 1245.

Wednesday -- Lecture for International Women's Day campaign: Melanne Verveer, executive director of the Institute for Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University; also recently the first U.S. ambassador for global women's issues. 6-8 p.m. Pfendler Hall, Deans Auditorium (Room 241).

Friday -- "Get Your Glasses On!" Fest. A chance to show off your glasses, celebrate new perceptions about gender awareness and increase gender awareness at Purdue. 7-8:30 p.m. Córdova Recreational Sports Center, Feature Gym. (RSC membership is not needed to attend.)

More about the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program is at www.cla.purdue.edu/womens-studies