Wilkes University


“Women, Politics, and Activism” Is the Theme of Women’s and Gender Studies Conference April 11-12 at Wilkes University

Politics in this election year is the theme as Wilkes University, in collaboration with King’s College, presents the Women’s and Gender Studies Conference Program on April 11-12 on the Wilkes campus. The  conference is free and open to the public, with registration beginning at 9 a.m. on April 11 on the second floor of the Henry Student Center, 84 West South St.

The keynote address, “Double Standard: Media Treatment of Women Politicians and Why It Matters” will be delivered by Jennie Sweet-Cushman, assistant director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics and assistant professor of political science at Chatham University. Her research focuses on gender differences in political participation in both the United States and West Africa and has appeared in the International Journal of Public Administration and Advancing Women in Leadership. Sweet-Cushman also has a doctorate in political science from Wayne State University. Prior to entering academia, she was a fellow of the Michigan Political Leadership Fellowship Program at Michigan State University and managed a successful United States congressional campaign. Sweet-Cushman will deliver the keynote address on April 12 at 7 p.m. in the Stark Learning Center, Room 101 at Wilkes University.

The Conference has several events in disciplines such as anthropology, communication studies, criminology, English, history, political science, sociology, and more. In addition to faculty and student presenters from Wilkes and King’s, presenters from the Community College of Philadelphia, Luzerne County Community College, Misericordia University, Philadelphia University, and Rutgers University will discuss the ways in which women are significantly underrepresented at every level of elective office and how they are treated differently in the media.

Highlights of the program include:

  • “My Experience Running for Local Office” will be presented by Beth Gilbert. The speech details her winning run for Wilkes-Barre City Council while a student at Wilkes University, and the obstacles she faced as a woman. Gilbert’s presentation will take place on April 11 at 9 a.m. in the Savitz Lounge at Wilkes.
  • “A Cross-Generational Perspective: Why Girls Just Wanna Not Run” will be presented by Wilkes University students Desirea Allen-Brown, Naiaf Alotaibi, Mujtaba Bultalg, Derick DeMorrow, Luonan Liu, and Callie O’Donovan. These first year foundations students conducted interviews to determine why women do not run for public office and why they will not vote for one another. There will be a panel discussion following the presentation on April 12 at 9:30 a.m. in the Henry Center Ballroom at Wilkes. 
  • “Margery Scranton and Marion Munley: NEPA’s Political Matriarchs” will be presented by Anna Steighner of King’s College. Marion Munley and Margery Scranton were both formidable women and pioneering female politicians, and were regarded as such by their families and the voting public of Scranton and the Wyoming Valley. The discussion will be on April 12 at 12:30 p.m. in the Miller Room at Wilkes.

This year marks the fifth collaboration between Wilkes University and King’s College in organizing the Women’s and Gender Studies conference. The conference is organized by Nicole Mares, director of Women’s Studies at King’s College, and Jennifer Thomas, Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wilkes University.