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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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‘Women in Power Conference’ strives to bring attention to struggles, accomplishments of women around world

Texas A&M is recognizing International Women’s Day with the Women In Power conference, which aims to bring attention to the struggles and accomplishments of the female population across the globe.

According to the TAMU student life website, International Women’s Day was first celebrated in America in February 1909 and was introduced to other countries such as Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911. The early International Women’s Days aimed to gain women’s right to work, vote and hold public office.Today the holiday has grown into a time to recognize political, economic and social achievements of women all around the world. http://studentlife.tamu.edu/wrc.iwd

This year, five Texas A&M organizations — The American Association of University Women at Texas A&M, TAMU Amnesty, Mosaic Flowers, Feminists for Reproductive Equity and Education and Feminism for Aggies — have joined together to create the conference. It will welcome a student panel and a faculty panel of speakers in addition to small group discussions and performances by Slam Poets, TAMU Belly Dance Association and the all female acappella group, the Femmatas.

Political science junior and director of administration for The American Association of University Women at Texas A&M, Katlyn Riggins, said the conference should lift up women for their achievements.

“We’re hoping to celebrate women and empower women,” Riggins said. “There will be a group discussion with the participants to talk about conflicts and things women face, and issues you might face as an international student, but the main focus is to celebrate all women.”

Political science senior and president of Amnesty International at A&M, Derin Oduye, will be on the student panel speaking as an international student. Oduye said that the conference should bring attention to the people that are already speaking up for what they believe.

“We are not here to speak for others, just here to elevate their voices. I feel like those words should ring throughout the whole conference.,” Oduye said.

Political science junior and president and founder of Mosaic Flowers, Dominique Hawkins, said she is glad to be a part of an event that brings A&M’s women’s organizations together.

“I’ve enjoyed working with everyone planning this event,” Hawkins said. “There are so many women’s organizations on campus, and we are all doing different things and we all have similar missions. Sometimes it’s good for all of us to come together to achieve one big event for everyone to come out to and have a great time.”

Hawkins said it’s good to be able to meet in this type of setting to discuss issues that may be challenging to bring up on a daily basis.

“The major aim of this conference is to bring awareness to the struggle of what women face internationally,” Riggins said. “There are so many different organizations, and we all struggle and we all aim to empower each other so it’s very good that we are getting together at this conference so we can empower women. We can discuss things that we normally can’t in a normal audience.”

Riggins said that even though the event is aimed at women it is important for men to be in attendance as well.

“We would love for guys to come because I feel like it is very important for men to stand behind the women’s movement and show support for them,” Riggins said. “It’s great for men to be educated in this subject because men don’t face the same types of scrutiny that women face. I think it’s good and educational to learn these things.”

Oduye said that it is a common misconception that a feminist has to be a female and that men are welcome at the conference.

“The biggest misconception about feminism is that it’s only for women. Men should be feminists. You don’t have to be the voices for women but we would like them to be our allies,” Oduye said. “ If we keep preaching to the choir there is no progress being made. We’re talking to a lot of women at a women’s conference but there should be men there too.”

The Women in Power Conference will be held in the MSC 2300D from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 8.

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