Women's and Gender Studies Conference

Wilkes Unviersity and King's College

2024 Women's and Gender Studies Conference

Transgender Identity and Feminism

Presented by Wilkes University and King's College

Wilkes University Campus

Monday, April 8: Keynote Speaker
Tuesday, April 9: Conference Presentations

Keynote Speaker

Trans Rights and Women’s Rights: Feminism and the Fight for Gender Justice

Speaker: Dr. Heather Hewett

Monday, April 8, 7 p.m. | Jean and Paul Adams Commons

Free and open to the public - no registration required

Despite greater visibility and growing cultural acceptance over the last several decades, transgender and nonbinary people have been facing an onslaught of punitive legislation and an increase in violent attacks since 2021. Trans rights are both a feminist and a human rights issue, so it’s important to understand what’s happening and what’s at stake. This talk examines how we got here, how feminist and trans struggles for justice are interlinked, and how each one of us can work toward a world where liberation and justice is available to all people, regardless of who they are or where they live.

About Dr. Hewett

Heather Hewett is a professor and a feminist literary and cultural scholar who focuses on the 20th and 21st centuries. She co-edited the volume #MeToo and Literary Studies: Reading, Writing, and Teaching about Sexual Violence and Rape Culture (2021). Her opinion pieces, personal essays, and reviews have appeared in publications such as Boston Review, Inside Higher Ed, LIBER: A Feminist Review, and The Washington Post.

Dr. Hewett is an associate professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and an affiliate of the Department of English at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Since fall 2022, she has been serving a two-year term as a program officer in Higher Education Initiatives at the American Council of Learned Societies. She earned a BA from Yale University and a PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Conference Schedule

Tuesday, April 9

All conference presentations will take place on the second floor of the Henry Student Center in the room listed.

9:30 - 10:45 a.m.

Session A
LGBTQ+ Liberation from Past to Present

Savitz Lounge

Moderator: Dr. Kalen Churcher, Wilkes University

“Stonewall Paving the Way for a Visible LGBTQ Community”

Presenters: Elizabeth Cherinka, Wilkes University,

This presentation dives into the impact of the Stonewall riots of 1969 on LGBTQ activism during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) in the 1990s. The riots allowed the community to gain visibility in American society, but this was just the beginning.

After Stonewall, the movement focused on inclusion, self-advocacy, and visibility rather than legal reform, but the government still turned a blind eye to the AIDS epidemic and its effects on the gay community. DADT ultimately discouraged the visibility gay Americans had worked for; their efforts to repeal the law were rooted in the longer history of activism. Without the Stonewall riots, this activism might never have happened, at least not on the scale it did. The visibility that Stonewall provided was not something that could be repealed through legislation; it was a movement that had been set in motion 30 years earlier.

“Northeastern Pennsylvania: The Next Frontier for Trans Liberation"

Presenter: Alec Walker-Serrano, LGBTQ Committee Chair, NEPA Stands Up

Northeastern Pennsylvania has long been considered a democratic stronghold by many, but could it also be the hub we need for trans activism? Is NEPA the key to pushing forward the rights of transgender people in Pennsylvania and beyond?

Alec Walker-Serrano, chair of the NEPA Stands Up LGBTQ Committee, will discuss his work and insights as both a community organizer and transmasculine person. Over the past year, Walker-Serrano led marches for trans liberation in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, lobbied for the Safe and Equal Schools legislation package in Harrisburg, and organized two Trans Day of Visbility celebrations. Between affirming places of worship, positive local news coverage of trans rights, and small businesses displaying pride flags, it has become clear that folks in NEPA are not only ready to take on the fight for trans liberation that lay before us in 2024, but are eager to do so.

Session B
Health Equity: Supporting the Health of Transgender and Gender Diverse People

Miller Room

Moderator: Dr. Marie Roke Thomas

“Strategies to Improve Health Disparities in the LGBT Population”

Presenters: James Hiryak and Matthew Schwarztrauber, Wilkes University

According to a 2022 Gallup Poll, 7.2% of the US population identifies their sexual orientation within LBGT, with younger generations more likely to identify as LBGT than older populations. Patients in this population are more likely to report higher levels of dissatisfaction with their care visits, higher rates of chronic disease states, and more limited access to healthcare. Strategies to improve healthcare for this population will be discussed.

“Caring for Transgender and Gender Diverse Patients: A Primer”

Presenters: Amanda Rawa, Kaleigh Taylor, Kalley Kovaleski, and Madison Gordon, Wilkes University

According to Healthy People 2030, transgender and gender diverse patients face a disproportionately high risk of both mental and physical health concerns. The learning objectives for this session include:

  1. Identify healthcare needs of the transgender and gender diverse population.
  2. Describe preventative services needed for this population.
  3. Identify medications used for gender-affirming treatment.
Session C
Queer Literature and Theory

Jean and Paul Adams Commons

Moderator: Dr. Helen Davis, Wilkes University

“Reclaiming Americana: Regionalism and Gender Performativity"

Presenter: Lily Hebda, Wilkes University

Camp remains ever important within LGBTQ+ circles as queer artists explore traditional Americana aesthetics, exhibited in a contemporary queer regionalist movement.

“Stereotypes in Portrayals of Bruce Bechdel"

Presenter: Ozzie Priebe, Wilkes University

This presentation will explore toxic gay masculinity and stereotypes in the portrayal of Bruce Bechdel from Alison Bechdel's Fun Home.

"Breaking Binary: A Theoretical Analysis of Transgender Identity in 21st century Television"

Presenter: Morgan Steiner, Wilkes University

Popular culture is often a reflection of real-world attitudes and television has been essential in telling new stories and providing a stage for diverse voices to share their experiences; however, these stories are not always framed in a positive light. Using theory found in Gender Studies, I aim to discover the good, bad, and the ugly side of transgender voice and identity in twenty-first century television

11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Session A
The Medicalization of Women's Bodies: Exploring the Consequences for Women and Health Justice

Savitz Lounge

Moderator: Dr. Kaitlyn Langendoerfer, Wilkes University

The medicalization of women's bodies throughout history has shaped societal perceptions of illness and disease, healthcare practices, and individual experiences. This panel aims to delve into the intersections of gender, medicine, and power dynamics within the context of women's health. Through sociological perspectives related to deviance, we will examine the implications of 3 medicalization on women's bodies, identities, and agency. Policy implications will also be explored. This panel seeks to highlight the complexities of gendered health practices and inspire conversations and actions towards gender equity and justice in healthcare.

“The Medicalization of Infertility”

Presenters: Ava Musloski, Wilkes University

Nearly 15% of individuals in their childbearing years will struggle with infertility across the globe. While the issue may be related to the male partner, the gaze and blame tends to fall upon women and their bodies when infertility occurs. This presentation examines infertility through a sociological lens with a specific focus on the consequences of the medicalization of fertility. For instance, what happens when your social location determines whether or not you can receive treatment for infertility? What happens to your identity as a woman if or when the treatment fails? What anxieties does the medicalization of fertility create for those "at risk" for infertility (e.g. those experiencing autoimmune disorders")? The goal of this presentation it to spark a dialogue surrounding the intersections of medicine, gender, health and identity.

“The Medicalization of Black Women's Bodies”

Presenters: Aster Rowland, Wilkes University

This paper will explore not only the ways in which the bodies of black people have been used to further scientific and medical research and exploration, it will also explore why those in the black community are more prone to certain illnesses or diseases than their white counterparts. Starting with the slave trade and it's plague through the Middle Passage, we will explore the medical assault of enslaved women and children thanks to the so-called Father of Gynecology. We will talk about Henrietta Lacks, and how the cells from her carcinoma were used well after her death with no compensation to her or her family. Also we will touch on the perversion of black corpses stolen from graveyards, and experiments performed on black men without informed consent. Finally, we will touch on how all of that affects the modern day, why certain illnesses disproportionately affect black people, and what can be done to remedy these issues.

‘The Truth about the Medicalization of Menopause”

Presenters: Lindsey Kausmeyer, Wilkes University

This presentation will discuss the history and the consequences of the medicalization of menopause. Arguments can be made that the medicalization of menopause has led to symptom relief for women, however, symptom relief is not why menopause entered the medical realm. Around the 19th century, doctors, who at the time were all men, saw the process of reproductive aging as deviance, and as something that needed to be regulated and controlled, rather than understanding that it is a natural process of female aging. This presentation will explore the ways in which pharmaceutical companies acted as engines of medicalization by using fear of aging to convince more women to use their medications to stop the aging process. The medicalization of menopause may be advertised as a way to help women gain control over their bodies and relieve pain, however, it is a strategy from medical and pharmaceutical companies to make women buy and use their products while also making them believe that reproductive aging is not normal. Implications related to gender justice in healthcare will be discussed.

Session B
Representations of Women and Gender in Literature and Film

Miller Room

Moderator: Erica Acosta, Wilkes University

Booksmart Film Review”

Presenter: Jess Kunkle, Wilkes University

This presentation will examine the film Booksmart directed by Olivia Wilde through a feminist and criminologist lens. It will focus on themes including gender roles and norms, beauty standards, internalized misogyny, and double standards between the lives of men and women.

“Walls of Reflection: A Literary Analysis on The Yellow Wallpaper"

Presenter: Olivia Anderson, King's College

The goal of this literary analysis is to investigate the work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman by looking at her piece The Yellow Wallpaper. This text and other supporting documents have been examined closely to discover themes of recognition between Gilman's narrator and her own life. The purpose was to show the way women struggle within confinement inflicted by stereotypes, which was harmful to the author.

Works are included from other authors to support the thesis and quotes from Gilman's autobiography. The story is discussed in depth, highlighting characters and their roles in the narrator's confinement and contributions to the stereotype, and the significance of how the narrator is unnamed. These points are made while consistently drawing back to the idea that this story was derived from Gilman's own experiences. This paper was written to show how stereotypes inflicted on women can be harmful to their physical and mental well-being.

“Females Bleed: An Analysis of Menstruation in Literature”

Presenter: Ashley Kenia, King's College

The stigma around menstruation has religious roots. The book of Leviticus, for example, details the pains of menstruation as well as activities forbidden for menstruating women. The stigma around menstruation has continued well into modern times. While there are examples of the stigma in other forms of popular culture, this paper is specifically concerned with the presence of menstruating women in literature-their relative absence and the efforts of female authors from various genres to dismantle the taboo around menstruation. In addition, this paper examines works that display menstruating women in a negative light, emphasizing the continuing need for literature to normalize menstruation and to present the evident truth that females bleed.

Session C
Hate Mail: To Respond or Not to Respond

Jean and Paul Adams Commons

Moderator: Dr. Gina Morrison, Wilkes University

Presenter: Gregory Fletcher, Wilkes University

From a sweet, innocent book cover illustration of two teenage boys kissing, an ad on Facebook for my new novella Tom and Huck Sitting in a Tree received over 65 negative reactions. To respond or not to respond, I will describe a week of hate mail and how I survived it.

12 - 12:45 p.m.

Session A
A Conversation with Muslim Women: Who We are and What We're Not (A Panel Discussion)

Savitz Lounge

Moderator: Dr. Gina Morrison, Wilkes University

Presenters: Basma Al-Salem, Sarah Arshad, Bisma Chaudhry | Eza Chaudhry, Wilkes University

Women who are Muslim often face stereotyping, micro-aggression, and marginalization within American schools and organizations. Many have found that efforts to create dialogue within their own circle of friends can pave the way to understanding. This conversation with some of the Muslim women of Wilkes University will provide an opportunity to see the diversity and the commonalities among Muslim women, and to gain insight into the day-to-day issues they face. This panel aims to help people to understand the important distinction between culture and religion in the daily life of a Muslim woman. In addition, the panel will invite frank dialogue with the session participants, to dispel stereotypes and answer questions that many have not been able to ask. Participants who join the panel discussion are asked to recognize that these individual women do not speak on behalf of all Muslim women; neither do they speak as experts on Islam. Rather, they speak as individuals who seek to open a channel of communication for peers and mentors, going forward.

1 - 2:15 p.m.

Session A
The Impact of Education on Gender Equality

Savitz Lounge

Moderator: Dr. Robert Tuttle, Wilkes University

Presenters: Ciara Williams, "How Does Education Influence Gender Equality?", Wilkes University | Nick Sherinsky, "Primary Education Barriers for Women and Girls in Developing Countries”, Wilkes University | Alexis Kazmierski, "Education Barriers for Women in Developing Countries,” Wilkes University

Panelists will explore the critical relationship between education and gender equality. The presentations will underscore the important role of education in advancing gender equality and offer insights into effective interventions for dismantling barriers to education for women and girls globally.

Session B
Assessing the Impact of Policies on Gender Equality

Miller Room

Moderator: Dr. Andy Wilczak, Wilkes University

Presenters: Elizabeth Keller, "How US Policy has Driven Gender Equality in the Developing World," John Sudol, "What has Been the Impact of Existing Gender Equality Policies Globally, and which Policies have been most Effective in Different Contexts?,” and Aidan Palochik, "Effective Gender Equality Policies," Wilkes University

Panelists will explore the relationship between policymaking and the advancement of gender equality worldwide. Presents will discuss insights and strategies of future policies that promote gender equality.

Session C
Women's Roles in Politics and Conflict

Jean and Paul Adams Commons

Moderator: Dr. Benjamin Toll, Wilkes University

Presenters: Gracie Gluszak, "The Political Niche for Women," Joseph Day, "How do Women in Political Office Affect Policy Decisions, and How Can Participation be Increased?," and Ozzie Priebe, "Violence Against Women During War," Wilkes University

Panelists will explore the roles and challenges of women in the spheres of politics and conflict. Presenters will discuss the influence of women in shaping policies, while also addressing the critical challenges they face in politics and during times of conflict.

2:30 - 3:45 p.m.

Session A
LGBTQ+ Rights and Representation in Japan

Savitz Lounge

Moderator: Dr. Robin Field, King’s College

“Transgender People in Japan”

Presenters: Ozzie Priebe, Wilkes University

This research presentation intends to showcase information about transgender people in Japan. This includes putting their identities into a historical context, looking at the queerness in the art of Japanese theater, reviewing past and current law and opinions of lawmakers, transgender representation in the media, discussing the issues that transgender and gender nonconforming Japanese people face, and looking at the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement in Japan and what it could mean for other Asian countries.

“Commentary on Queer Acceptance and Racist Fetishization in Jana Monji's Kim

Presenters: Joseph Gacek, King’s College

Within this piece, Jana Monji's short story Kim is explored, focusing on the narrative choice to write with a deliberate absence of pronouns for the character, Kim, until the story's climax. This literary technique serves to conceal Kim's identity, which is ultimately revealed as a plot twist, revealing Monji's intention to provoke discourse on queer culture. Monji incorporates three perspectives on queerness: acceptance, represented by the narrator; tolerance, depicted through the elderly neighbors of Kim's roommates; and hostility, embodied by the story's antagonistic white men. By withholding Kim's gender identity until the conclusion, Monji navigates a narrative that challenges conventional 'norms' and highlights the complexity of the queer experience. The deliberate ambiguity surrounding Kim's character prompts readers to reevaluate their perceptions of identity and to consider the broader societal implications of queer representation in literature.

Session B
Contextualizing Stress: A Sociological Examination of Stress and Coping among Women

Miller Room

Moderator: Dr. Kaitlyn Langendoerfer, Wilkes University

This panel will explore stress and coping among women. Stress is a pervasive aspect of modern life, and women often face specific stressors related to gender roles, societal expectations, and systemic inequalities. Utilizing a sociological perspective, panelists will describe unique stressors related to motherhood, racism, and employment. While individual coping strategies and topics related to resilience will be discussed, panelist will focus on the important policy implications of their work, and the ways in which structural changes in our society could alleviate many stressors that women currently endure.

“The Stress of Black Women in America”

Presenters: Sydney Cadogan, Wilkes University

This presentation will discuss the unique stressors that Black women face in our society. Black women are vulnerable to stress and face discrimination on a daily basis related to race and gender. This presentation will highlight the constant wear and tear that Black women face on a daily basis with a specific focus on work and motherhood. For example, being told how to wear their hair, being told they are too loud or “doing too much”.

Motherhood adds another layer of societal based stress as Black women strive to fit the mold of being a “good mom” while also worrying about their children experiencing racism as they grow up. While many studies highlight the resilience that Black women develop based on their experiences, my presentation will conclude with a conversation about the weathering that Black women experience, the impact this has on their health, and the societal changes that could alleviate the stressors for Black women. In other words, Black women should not have to become “resilient” when the real issue relates to racism and sexism in our society.

“How Gender Roles and Societal Expectations Affect Stress in Women”

Presenters: Mikayla Faatz, Wilkes University

Superwoman Syndrome is a phenomenon within the modern woman that occurs when the woman attempts to be successful in every aspect of life at the expense of her own mental and physical health. Historically women’s role was to be the homemaker and caretaker, but as times modernized and women entered the workforce, they have been expected to manage both and then some. The overload of roles expected have become major stressors for women, both in terms of daily stressors and chronic stressors. Typically, Superwoman Syndrome is examined from a psychological perspective, only considering how the woman’s view of herself and own expectations affect her mental state. This presentation will instead examine the phenomenon from a sociological perspective. This approach helps to give a more rounded understanding to the societal pressures that lead to the psychological and stress related effects of the syndrome.

‘Stress and Coping Among Low-Income Single Mothers”

Presenters: Jahmier Washington, Wilkes University

This presentation will provide information on the social strains and societal pressures that influence the stressors single mothers face, particularly mothers who are low-income. The stressors women experience and the coping strategies they have available will be examined through a sociological lens which allows a conversation beyond the individual. For example, the 1996 Welfare Reform Act signed into law by Former president Clinton was designed to launch various social programs for individuals who are impoverished or in need of assistance. Throughout the time of this act being signed into law, single parents were the bulk of the recipients receiving welfare. While this safety net is helpful, it does not address all of the stressors that low-income mothers experience. This presentation will also inform you of the various social welfare programs and how reform could alleviate the stressors that mothers face today and can help mothers in the future.

Session C
Liberation from Oppression Through Agency and Peace

Jean and Paul Adams Commons

Moderator: Dr. Megan Lloyd, King’s College

“Death as a Means for Escape and Liberation”

Presenters: Sarah Fritz, King's College

Nineteenth century wealthy white women had increased literacy rates compared to their predecessors and were able to add a female view to literature of the time. Three stories, "Story of an Hour" and "The Awakening" by Kate Chopin and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, address the futility women felt towards securing their own freedom, especially from the men that controlled their lives. All three protagonists are finally freed from the chains of their existence by their own deaths. These stories coupled with research from contemporary sources demonstrate how in literature suicide and death was often an escape and means for women to achieve liberation.

“Heddwych Nain/Mamgu: The Welsh Women's Peace Petition”

Presenters: Dr. Megan Lloyd, King's College

Having lost fathers, husbands, and sons to the Great War, women of Wales gained a voice in its shadows, and with this voice began demanding a better world. They believed that the women of the U.S. should hear the voices of the women of Wales and work together for world peace. In 1923, a small group of Welsh women proposed a petition for peace. Seven months and almost 400,000 signatures later, a group of Welsh women brought the seven mile long peace petition to the U.S. and presented it to President Calvin Coolidge. This presentation describes their story.

“Unity for Title IX: Sexual Assault Awareness Presentation/Event”

Presenters: Alana Germano, King's College,

Despite Title IX's mandate for equal access and protection in education, many college students remain unaware of their rights regarding sexual assault, creating a significant barrier to reporting and support. This presentation explores the prevalence of this knowledge gap, its implications for survivors, and potential solutions.

The presentation will analyze the extent of students' understanding of Title IX's sexual assault provisions, their perception of reporting mechanisms, and the impact of limited awareness on access to resources and justice. By highlighting the personal and institutional consequences of this gap, the presentation aims to: Raise awareness among gender and women's studies scholars about the critical link between Title IX knowledge and survivor empowerment. Emphasize the need for comprehensive educational initiatives that equip students with the information and resources necessary to navigate reporting and support systems effectively.

As a sexual assault survivor while studying abroad, I realized that there was nothing I could do in the short amount of time that I was there to make a change. So, I came back and decided that there was something that I could do back at home. So I created an event that brings people together to raise awareness and to make change, “Unity for Title IX: Bar Crawl Event” Spark dialogue about potential strategies for promoting institutional accountability and creating a more informed and supportive campus climate for survivors of sexual assault.

4 - 5:15 p.m.

Session A
Challenging Ideas about Gender and Sexuality through Literature and Activism

Savtiz Lounge

Moderator: Dr. Ellen Newell, Wilkes University

“Intersections of Queer and Feminist Narrative Theory”

Presenters: Dr. Helen Davis, Wilkes University

This presentation comes from my chapter on "Queering Feminist Narratology" for the Palgrave Handbook of Feminist, Queer and Trans Narrative Studies. In this chapter, I explain some of the conflicting tensions between queer and feminist narrative theory and how further interrogation and connections can be fruitful for both queer and feminist understandings of literature.

“Sexual Assault, Social Media, and Trans Activism in Amber Tamblyn's Any Man

Presenter: Dr. Robin E. Field, King’s College

New stories about rape and rape survivors are being told in contemporary literature. Amber Tamblyn's novel Any Man (2018) shatters the long-standing stereotype that only men are rapists and only women are victims by depicting a female rapist who attacks (at least) six men. The novel's structure demands that readers understand and empathize with the men who have suffered the physical and psychological trauma that has so rarely been discussed in American culture-even though one of every ten rape victims is male.

The presentation will examine the chapter depicting the assault of a transgender man, which Tamblyn depicts using only Tweets. Tamblyn's chapter demonstrates the limitations of social media activism while simultaneously shedding light on the violence so prevalent against the trans community.

"Transgender Inequality”

Presenters: Rhiannon Borchert and Jaeden Patson, King's College

Given the existing and recent attention towards the LGBTQ+ movement we have noticed significant strides to make people feel more included, safe, and accepted in society. However, there has been regression when speaking in terms of the transgender community. In our paper we will address various aspects of the trans- movement regarding androgyny, drag, transsexualism vs transgenderism, and how different countries view the trans community.

Furthermore, we will discuss the heath, economic, safety, civil rights, and race discrimination centered around the transgender movement. We will be shedding light on different initiatives taken to address these concerns; forms of protection and safety and creating a more welcoming environment. To do this, we will consider opinions from all sides of the political spectrum and consider medical and social studies regarding our topic. Ultimately, we want to find the underlying cause of why the transgender community is considered deeply vulnerable around the world and how we can combat these challenges.

“A Nonbinary Testimony: Always Fearing for Your Life”

Presenter: Phoenix Davis, Wilkes University

"In my presentation, I will talk about my life experiences as a 17-year-old nonbinary person. As someone who is not only nonbinary, but also young, I am ignored by society most of the time, and when I'm not being ignored, I am being actively threatened. Although I have been out for well over a year, most people do not use my pronouns. In fact, I can count on two hands the number of people in my life that use my correct pronouns, and I am always afraid someone new will find out my dead name and start using it against me. I will talk about my experiences and struggles as a nonbinary person today and how I have overcome the pressures of knowing that if I say my pronouns I might be belittled, bullied, or even attacked just for not hiding who I am. I have tried and will always try to be an active voice for my communities, and I plan to talk about how and why I do that. I will also perform the song that I wrote for the 2023 Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil."

Session B
Manuscript Society and Campion Literary Society Present: Poetry Reading

Miller Room

Organizers: Dr. Mischelle Anthony, Wilkes University and Ms. Jennifer Yonkoski, King’s College

Writers will present original works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction that celebrate the lives of women, their varied voices, experiences, and visions of the world. A reception will follow.

Session C
The Economics of Gender Discrimination: Sexism in Wages and Sports

Jean and Paul Adams Commons

Moderator: Dr. Valerie Kepner, King’s College

“Beyond the Paycheck: Gender Pay Gap's Role in Persistent Poverty”

Presenters: Joseph Evanosky and Adilene Lopez, King's College

In this presentation we will explore the relationship between the gender pay gap and poverty and will examine how unequal pay affects women's economic well-being. By researching socio-economic and diversity statistics, we will unveil disparities in earning potential, and shed light on how these factors contribute to persistent economic inequalities among certain groups. Our findings reveal significant disparities among certain groups and emphasize the urgency for targeted policy interventions. For instance, our data indicate that women of color experience a compounded effect of both gender and racial wage gaps, contributing to heightened economic challenges. We aim to give a clear picture of what is happening with incomes and diversity, to help policymakers and advocates work towards a fairer and more inclusive economy.

“Wage Gap”

Presenters: Matthew Lewis and Theodore Miselis, King’s College

We will examine the well documented pay gap between the genders that has existed for many years, with a focus on its causes, implications, and potential solutions. We will dive into the nature of the pay disparity through looking at existing writings and data, considering factors such as segregation, discrimination, and societal norms between men and women in workplaces. We will also take a broader look at the economic and social implications of unequal pay for women, at both individual levels and different levels in society. We will also discuss policy interventions and strategies of different organizations that have been laid out to address and mitigate the gender pay gap.

"Women’s Equality in Sports”

Presenters: Brianna Kesslick and Kara Krouse, King’s College

Women in college sports are faced with many challenges that go beyond just playing their sport. Despite all the progress in gender equality, women athletes still experience egregious differences in their funding and opportunities when compared to men. They need help with imbalanced access to resources and facilities. We also see a disparity in the allocation of scholarship funding and general media coverage. Along with the societal stereotypes and pressures that come from the daily life of a woman, the problem only heightens when they join the male-dominated world of sports.

The growth of women's sports is constantly hindered due to the lack of recognition as an equal counterpart to men's athletics. Without a change to policy and funding, women's sports will continue to go unnoticed and undervalued. This attitude will pour over, ultimately reflecting our disregard for gender equality in society's everyday life. Increasing media coverage, adequate funding, and providing newer and more advanced facilities would be a step in the right direction for equality across women's sports.

“Modern Issues Facing Women in S.T.E.M”

Presenters: Aiden Mertz, Corey Manganiello, and Yohanser Rosario, King’s College

We will discuss the imbalance in representation between men and women in the S.T.E.M. workforce. We will also discuss the difference between representation in specific S.T.E.M. fields and the accompanying wage gap. We will discuss the extra pressures women face within the S.T.E.M. field specifically relating to work-life balance and issues of bias in more senior leadership rolls within S.T.E.M.

5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Session A
Life is such a DRAG

Savtiz Lounge

Moderator: Lisa Reynolds, Wilkes University

Presenter: Olivia Butkiewicz (Oliver Twist)

Life certainly has its ups and down, but in the life of a nonbinary graphic designer by day and drag performer by night... Nothing is Ordinary! We will be talking drag queens, kings, monsters and the vital role they play with the queer community, especially those who are gender nonconforming and trans. Let's Kiki down memorial lane and appreciate being Friends with Dorothy.

Session B
Contemporary Issues: Intimate Partner Violence, Immigration, and the Workplace

Miller Room

Moderator: Dr. Valerie Kepner, King’s College

"Domestic Violence Against Women"

Presenter: Christina Timinski, Claire Malarkey, and Sophia Pabst, King’s College,

A dark shadow still hovers over women in their own households today, even with the fact that there has been progress and work done towards gender equality. That shadow is domestic violence, and an alarming statistic states that, "[n]early 3 in 10 women, [or 29% of women], in the [United States] have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by a partner" (Domestic Violence Statistics, 2023).

The consequences of domestic violence against women go beyond physical harm. Domestic violence can also have a negative influence on a woman's mental health and emotional and financial well-being. Not only that, but it is also important to mention that there could be children involved that are affected by this tragedy, who could eventually go on to continue the stigma Educational awareness, strengthening legal action and support for women is crucial in breaking the vicious cycle.

“Latino Immigrant Hardships”

Presenters: Henri Avila and Ariana Piestrak-Threats, King’s College

Inspired by Cecilia Ayon's journal, Mexican Immigrant Families Under Siege: The Impact of Anti-Immigrant Policies, Discrimination, and the Economic Crisis, we will discuss the discrimination, financial poverty, misfortune, and anxiety of the Latino immigrant population. We will provide firsthand experiences with immigrant issues, as well as unique experiences in other immigrant households.

The purpose of this will be to educate and become aware of the economic problems of Latino immigrants. The focus will be on recognizing the difficulties Latino immigrants face day to day, and the anti-immigration policies affecting their lives. Additionally, we will discuss internal problems within Latino households, pertaining to domestic abuse. Latino immigrants face a variety of issues in their lives, and we hope to bring these issues to light, so that their story can be heard and recognized as a global issue.

"Women’s Equality in Sports”

Presenters: Brianna Kesslic and Kara Krouse, King’s College

Women in college sports are faced with many challenges that go beyond just playing their sport. Despite all the progress in gender equality, women athletes still experience egregious differences in their funding and opportunities when compared to men. They need help with imbalanced access to resources and facilities. We also see a disparity in the allocation of scholarship funding and general media coverage. Along with the societal stereotypes and pressures that come from the daily life of a woman, the problem only heightens when they join the male-dominated world of sports.

The growth of women's sports is constantly hindered due to the lack of recognition as an equal counterpart to men's athletics. Without a change to policy and funding, women's sports will continue to go unnoticed and undervalued. This attitude will pour over, ultimately reflecting our disregard for gender equality in society's everyday life. Increasing media coverage, adequate funding, and providing newer and more advanced facilities would be a step in the right direction for equality across women's sports.

“Women in Business; An Uphill Battle”

Presenters: Lauren Masulis and Matt Kimberlin, King’s College

The business world is dominated by men. Although women continue to break boundaries every day, they face many obstacles to leadership and financial success in the workforce. In this presentation, we will discuss why women face barriers in the business world and will provide suggestions for how to achieve gender equality in the workplace.

Session C
Group S.O.S.

Jean and Paul Adams Common

Moderator: Dr. Andy Wilczak, Wilkes University

Presenter: Dr. Bonnie Culver, Wilkes University

This session will run until 7:30 p.m.

Group S.O.S. is a play about survivors of sexual assault written by Dr. Bonnie Culver. Five women and their counselor navigate each other's past abuse and tumultuous relationships while finding a way to build a future. Following the play, there will be a Q&A with the cast and Dr. Culver, moderated by Dr. Andy Wilczak.


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