Reflection on the Women’s March on Washington

Author: Maggie McGoveney

I didn’t know whether I would be able to go to the Women’s March on Washington until two days before, and to be honest I was a little scared.  My Facebook feed on Friday was filled with news of violence, tear gas, and arrests at the inauguration.  I didn’t know if the march would be the same.  I found out later that my dad had called my mom and told her he wished I wasn’t going; what if I got hurt or arrested?  My mom, a lifelong feminist, replied that she didn’t care, that this is something I needed to do regardless of the risks.  In the end, I decided that was what I thought too.

Contine reading

Why is women on currency a political issue?

    The concept of getting a woman on one of the paper bills of the U.S. Treasury has been one on the minds of many government officials for a while, and citizens have been vouching for a change.

The United States Treasury has been looking for new representatives to be the face on a crisp new ten-dollar bill, and Chatham University had the pleasure of an alumna being in the running for the position. Rachel Carson was one of the women nominated to be featured on the redesigned paper money, but she did not make the final cut for the four top contenders.

    While the concept of a Chatham graduate being on a ten-dollar bill is exciting and forward, a woman in general is a step in the right direction for those seeking feminist equality everywhere. However, the political nature of this decision is at the core of the debate. The debate was brought up at the most recent GOP Debate, and candidates appeared flustered and confused when they were asked which woman they would like to see on currency. Two candidates, Jeb Bush and John Kasich, did not even choose American citizens. Bush chose Margaret Thatcher and Kasich chose Mother Teresa. There is an obvious gap between what is feminist and what is American in today’s politics.

    GOP candidate Carly Fiorina said she would keep the currency as it is. As an audience, we cannot presume to know the thought behind her reasoning, but we can witness a woman saying something that would, in some lights, be portrayed as an anti-feminist argument. In defense of Fiorina, she is the only female Republican candidate running for President in the 2016 election, and she is often overshadowed by the more controversial candidates, such as Donald Trump. As a woman in a mainly male-dominated field, she is cast aside as a secondary character in the election season.

    Women on money is not a foreign concept for the United States, considering at points in time both Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea were on coins. Yet somehow, paper money is a more validating stance. Some women who are in the running are Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Eleanor Roosevelt, to name just a few. These women had an extreme impact on the advancement of women, and the idea of putting them on money is going to give whoever is chosen well-deserved recognition.

Still, these women are no less great if they do not make the cut. Their contribution is still important to American society.

Secretary of the the Treasury Jacob J. Lew has been posting updates on the redesign of the bill online, and younger people have created a large social media following. Follow the progress of the new ten-dollar bill at

Dr. Brian Jara dines with Chatham students following speech

Dr. Brian R. Jara honored Chatham with his knowledge and honesty about feminism in his talk “Pronouns, Bathrooms, and Hashtag Feminism: Looking Back at the Future of Gender.”

“I really enjoyed Dr. Jara, he was so informative, and I really liked his stance on privilege,” said Maya Carey, a first year Political Science major. “I’ve never met someone with so much privilege who acknowledges it and is an identifiable feminist who is so informative. It’s a breath of fresh air to see a male who is so encouraging of other privileged people to embark on feminism.”

Jara repeatedly stressed the importance of dialogue between students and the importance of awkward, messy conversations during his talk. The dinner that took place in the Welker Room on campus after the speech recognized this and created a space for casual but intimate dialog.

At the dinner, there was no pressure to mingle, though Dr. Lynne Bruckner, professor of English and Gender Studies courses, encouraged students to talk to Jara.

Upon arrival, Dr. Jara sat at a table, front and center, allowing interested students to accompany him. Students who finished talking to the professor rotated with other students so everyone could have a chance.

Some students like junior Kelly Nestman, president of Chatham’s feminist coalition FACE (Feminist Activist Creating Equality) spoke to Jara.

“With this dinner, being a Women’s Studies major, I was given the opportunity to speak with Brian R. Jara about what he thought about the coeducational transition. He also gave FACE advice as well on how to be an active participant in the coeducational transition,” said Nestman. “I think that speaking to not only a feminist from another institution but a male feminist from another institution was really beneficial and it was really beneficial to me as president [of FACE] to help organize all of this as well.”

Some students who rotated into the table simply wanted to hear what Jara had to say.

   “I [felt] excited at this dinner. I think it’s great to have some one-on-one time with someone who is so knowledgeable about feminism,” said Jennifer St. Clair, a biology major, “He’s a very clear speaker and is very thoughtful.”

Chatham Students appreciated the opportunity to talk with the feminist in a more intimate setting. Some said this wouldn’t have happened in a school that didn’t have the Chatham University environment.

“I really feel that at other schools you [wouldn’t] really get the opportunity to speak with the lecturers or professors who are speaking at your college. I just don’t think I would have the opportunity to speak with him,” said Carey. “I think I’d be able to see him, but I wouldn’t be able to shake his hand and see his point of view on what I’m saying.”