Female faculty, students celebrate International Women’s Day

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Government associate professor Rachel Wellhausen shares a meal and talks about her research with students in the Student Activity Center ballroom. The Senate of College Councils hosted the gathering in celebration of last week’s International Women’s Day.

Photo Credit: Joshua Guenther | Daily Texan Staff

In celebration of last week’s International Women’s Day, female faculty and students gathered Wednesday evening to acknowledge the impact of females on campus.

In previous years, this annual International Women’s Day Celebration was solely labeled as a female faculty appreciation event. But, this year, the celebration centered not only around faculty but all females on campus in recognition of the international holiday.

The Faculty Affairs Committee within the Senate of College Councils hosted the celebration in the Student Activities Center’s ballroom. The committee invited about 30 female faculty members to talk with about 100 student attendees.

Praveena Javvadi and Ryan Jaffe, co-chairs of the Faculty Affairs Committee, coordinated the event. Jaffe said International Women’s Day, and celebrating women overall, is important on campus because women do not get the recognition they deserve.

 

“When you look at faculty numbers here on campus, the amount of women’s faculty is so slim compared to men,” government sophomore Jaffe said. “The disparity is clear, and we need to recognize that so we can attract more female professors on campus.”

Throughout the event, faculty members spoke on a variety of topics including diversity, education and politics. The professors at the event came from a range of different departments, such as Italian studies, civil engineering and social work.

Social work professor Diana DiNitto, one of the faculty members invited to the event, said she believed this was an important opportunity for professors from different departments to interact with students they may not have the chance to meet outside of this event.

Students who attended engaged with the professors by asking questions about their careers and their lives over refreshments.

“To celebrate female professors is really empowering for younger females,” said Alicia Willoughby, international relations and global studies sophomore. “To have the time to speak with those who have broken through the glass ceiling of overcoming male dominance in higher education shows us that we can do it too.”

With Wednesday’s event and future events recognizing women, Jaffe said he hopes students can have a new appreciation for the female faculty on campus.

 “I hope (students) can have a great conversation with some amazing professors,” Jaffe said. “If they can have one great conversation, then it’s worth it.”