The ‘human struggle, not just her struggle’: 2016 Women and Gender conference sparks conversation on campus

Seton Hall’s own eponym, Elizabeth Ann Seton, is the epitome of a role model for women. Her role as the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized as a saint is just one of the many topic to be presented at the 2016 conference on Women and Gender to be held Friday, February 12th. Dr. Karen Gevirtz, an Associate Professor of English and the Co-Director of the Women and Gender Studies Program, along with Dr. Vanessa May, organizes the annual event.

On what to expect of the event which includes multiple sessions, a luncheon, and keynote address, Dr. Gevirtz states that attendees, “will gain both a deeper and a broader understanding of how gender is an issue in their own life. Both individually and together, our presenters show how gender shapes contemporary life, from choosing a college or university to getting health care and a job after it, from caring for children and elderly parents at home to being part of a global economy”.

Guys do not be shy; Dr. Gevirtz points out that, “the conference is not aimed only at women. Everyone has gender, and it’s an issue for everyone. As our panel discussion last winter on fatherhood and careers demonstrated, no one is free from the conflicts posed by gender issues”.

Dr. Rhonda Quinn, an Anthropology professor, plans to attend the event once again. “I am a scientist, professor, wife and mother, and thus have crossed traditional gender roles notably with less resistance than previous generations. To young women, I would advise them to know who they are, gender being one aspect, and if you want to challenge gender roles, go for it…wisely, strategically, thoughtfully, that is, understand the system you are challenging, all while realizing your own capacity for gender bias” says Quinn.

Pilar Dominguez, a Junior Criminal Justice major with a minor in Women and Gender can also attest to the importance of the event including all, not just women: “As a volunteer for the Sexual Assault Response Team of Somerset County in New Jersey, I have learned that the gender divide is a human struggle, not just “her” struggle” says Dominguez.

When asked of her opinion of a previous conference, Dominguez stated, “The event was enlightening and informative but I believed it lacked a diverse aspect in terms of more worldly issues regarding women in religion and other diversified cultures”.

The 2016 Conference, as Dr. Gevirtz points out, aims to do just this: “the twelve sessions cover a huge range of topics… [they] will give everyone at Seton Hall and the community around us a better understanding of how gender shapes our own individual lives, those of the people we love, and the world around us from our neighborhood to our nation to the globe”.

Kelly Zarnowski can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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