Orange Jackets hosts panel discussing women having it all

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Brandelyn Flunder, an assistant director of the multicultural center, discusses the issues women face achieving a work-life balance during the panel at the Recreation Sports Center on Wednesday night. 

Photo Credit: Debby Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

Five women offered varying viewpoints on whether women can have it all, and they all agreed that the answer is not so definitive.

A panel titled “Can Women Have it All?” discussed the meaning of the question and the challenges women face in the 21st century. The event was hosted by the Orange Jackets and the Feminist Action Project, and the five women shed knowledge on how to balance work and life experiences. 

Panelist Jennifer Speer, associate director of communication for the Division of Recreational Sports, said having it all is a complex and changing definition.

“It means being happy and balanced, but that has changed greatly throughout my life and will continue to change,” Speer said.

Jill Kolasinski, founder of the Knowledge is Power Project, a nonprofit group of schools that promotes smaller class sizes and strong communities among students, said the work-life balance approach is a fallacy. 

“I feel like I’ve accomplished so much that it’s OK for me to let go right now of those 80 hours work weeks,” Kolasinski said. “I was CEO for 10 years, I stepped down, and now I’m Mom. I know when my kids are ready and I’m ready, I will go back out there and I have faith that my life will lead me in that way. But, I do still work at the very minimum because I need that mental stimulation.“

Orange Jackets hosts the Week of Women as a way to engage in events that discuss women’s issues and highlight female achievements and presence on campus. Alyssa Davis, Plan II honors senior and Orange Jackets vice president, said the event has been a tradition for the past 10 years.

“I think this topic is especially relevant in today’s society,” Davis said. “The question is can women have it all, especially when the expectation is to balance a career and have a family.”

Rosa Rasales, a mother of six and an employee at Taco Cabana in the Student Activity Center as well as UT custodial services, said it’s been a struggle as a single mother for the past two years, but she has faith that things are going to get better.

“I work from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Taco Cabana and 2:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. as housekeeper at the SAC on Mondays and Tuesdays,” said Rasales. “Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, I work from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and then I watch my kids play soccer — but I find time to do Zumba. It’s hard, but if you want to do something, you can do it.”