NOW Addresses ConcernsThe recently established Charlottesville branch of the National Organization for Women focuses on challenges facing women at UVa. NOW officers and UVa students comment on the absence of available resources to address women's concerns, and state that NOW fills this void.
NOW Addresses Concerns
By DEBRA NICHOLS
Cavalier Daily Staff Writer
The National Organization for Women can be found meeting on the Grounds of the University.
The group, organized last semester by Debra Aaron, a graduate student in the College, and Betina Altizer, president of Virginia Law Women, is affiliated with the Charlottesville NOW chapter.
The Organization currently is led by co-chairwomen Aaron, third-year College student Jennifer Schanke and fourth-year College student Lisa Bush.
The University chapter of NOW serves as a support group for women at the University. It brings together women in different fields who are able to express varied perspectives on how women are treated at the University.
"Members are interested in improving the situation for women here,â€ Aaron said.
Just presenting expectations about women's roles â€“ men should be engineers; women should be teachers or nurses, for example â€” creates sexist undercurrents, she said.
â€œNOW provides an opportunity for women and men to express their concerns about such issues in a less critical atmosphere,â€ Aaron explained.
Treasurer and fourth-year College student Trish Koman commented that NOW serves an important function at the University "because there doesnâ€™t seem to be resource center for women at the University. NOW tends to fill that void. NOW coordinates and brings people together who might not know about each other even though they may be working on the same things."
Membership dues for the organization are $10 and are divided between the national headquarters, the Charlottesville chapter and the University chapter. Members receive publications from NOW and vote at meetings. Non-members are welcome to attend meetings or functions sponsored by NOW, but they are not entitled to vote.
Even males are invited to join the group, whose goal is "to provide a voice for women at the University,â€ group member and fourth-year College student Ronni Fuchs said.
The program holds Steering Committee meetings on Sunday nights. These executive meetings serve as a time to organize what different committees will be doing, to decide what to do at the next meeting and to focus on administrative details.
These meetings also are open to anyone who wishes to observe or to share specific concerns. Members from other groups concerned with womenâ€™s issues, such as Virginia Law Women, the Women's Concerns Committee, the Lesbian, Bisexual and Questioning Women and the Sexual Assault Research Agency, have attended these meetings in the past.
Representatives of some of the groups also have spoken at NOW meetings. Members from the Charlottesville NOW chapter often come to observe the group. NOW tries to get speakers that bring out various sides of an issue, Koman said,
The University NOW chapter cosponsors events with other organizations concerned with women's issues. They are currently working with representatives of the Young Democrats, Virginia Law Women and other organizations that oppose the Bork nomination.
Koman stressed, however, that NOW is not a political group at the University like it is on the national level. It is primarily an educational group for the students, she said.
According to Fuchs, they are trying to educate students on Bork's views concerning women's issues and civil rights.
NOW also is interested in the findings of the Task Force on the Status of Women at the University, a committee formed by University President Robert Oâ€™Neil to investigate the status of women here. NOW has formed an ad-hoc committee to examine the report and submit the organization's perspective. The organization wants to inform University women of the results of the task force's report, Aaron said.
Culturefest is another event in which NOW is participating. NOW will have a table there that will represent womenâ€™s culture through women's music.
According to Aaron, the reason for including a table at Culturefest is that it is "important that our [women's] culture doesn't get lost in mainstream culture.â€
|Tags||advocacy, student publications|
|Date Added||March 22, 2017|
|Date Modifed||December 9, 2017|
|Collection||Cavalier Daily: articles about gender discrimination|
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