Feminism on Tap discusses women in leadership roles

Gender and Sexuality Resource Center hosts feminist talk at The Cabin

More stories from Alyssa Anderson

Getting Weird
December 13, 2018

Photo by Kar Wei Cheng

Students gather at The Cabin to discuss feminism during the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center’s monthly Feminism on Tap.

Students and community members gathered to listen to speakers, sip IPAs and talk about feminism at UW-Eau Claire’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center’s monthly Feminism on Tap at The Cabin on last Wednesday evening.

Feminism on Tap is a series that began last spring as part of the women’s studies capstone and was inspired by an event of the same name that was put on by Planned Parenthood in Madison, said Laura Jones Holm, a senior women’s studies student and intern for the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.

“These events are meant to create a space where people in the community get to know each other,” Jones Holm said. “We want to build a sense of community and talk about how we can make change on a local level.”

One speaker, Eau Claire alum Diane Simon, discussed the importance of women in leadership roles. Simon, who has been working with the nonprofit organization United Way for 21 years, stressed the impact good role models can have on children.

“If we want to change the biases that exist in the world, we need to start with the kids,” Simon said. “These biases are not innate, they are learned, and you have the power to help teach them differently.”

Simon has spent most of her life trying to make a difference in her communities. Jones Holm said Simon was a volunteer at the 4H club she attended as a child. There, Simon helped put on musical theatre productions with the kids.

“I contacted her (Simon) to speak at this event because she has always advocated for people to step up and make a difference,” Jones Holm said.

From the moment she stepped in front of the audience, Simon had the attention of the room. She shared her experiences as a working woman and feminist, her struggles with Alopecia and the importance of being a role model to children.

“The more young girls see women in leadership roles, the more they will be motivated to be leaders,” Simon said. “It’s important to have good role models out there.”

Evan Andor, a women’s studies student and intern for the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, said it’s important to have these types of inclusive events available for students.

“These events aren’t meant for you to be talked at,” Andor said. “They are here to create a conversation. We have an open mic, so it is designed to make a conversation happen.”

As the hours passed and the crowd thinned, some audience members lingered to keep the conversation going. Kayla Gass, a junior geospatial analysis student, said she enjoyed having a space to listen to women and their experiences.

“I think there is a misconception about feminism,” Gass said. “A lot of people hear you’re a feminist and think you’re an extreme, that you hate men and want women to rule the world. But that’s not feminism at all. We need to keep this conversation going to show people that feminism isn’t just for women.”

The next Feminism on Tap, which Jones Holm said will focus on intersectionality, will be held from 7-10 p.m. on Dec. 4 in The Cabin.