This fall, the groundwork and behind-the-scenes efforts of the spring and summer finally materialized in exciting and tangible ways across campus! While we started some new efforts, the Women & Gender Collaborative has been focusing on formalizing and expanding existing programs.
One of the most exciting milestones of the year was launching the Feminist Fight Club at CSU as a university-wide initiative.
What started less than a year ago with a book and some informal meetings led to Colorado State University becoming the first institution of higher education to collaborate with author Jessica Bennett and introduce Feminist Fight Club as a resource for challenging subtle sexism across campus.
To celebrate the launch, we brought Jessica Bennett to campus for a day-long event that included a special meeting with members of the President’s Cabinet and the Council of Deans, as well as a Fireside Chat between Jessica and myself in front of a packed ballroom (with standing-room only)! Members of the Feminist Fight Club at CSU (and facilitators from the Man: Educate Yourself program) presented several workshops on “fight moves” to support working parents and women in STEM, improve supervisory relationships and create inclusive classrooms, and build strategies for men on fighting sexism.
Post-launch, the Feminist Fight Club at CSU has continued to be intentional about engaging with the book in ways that center intersectionality. We recognize the necessity of making our individual and collective efforts inclusive and supportive of those on the margins of the margins, so we focus our meetings on discussing how to apply “fight moves” from the book in more intersectional ways (and creating new ones to address other challenges that are not mentioned in the book). We are also developing supplemental resources to help guide campus units as they begin to engage with the book in order to shift their own unique cultures.
This fall, the Women & Gender Collaborative dedicated resources for expanding and supporting efforts that focus on research, women faculty, and women of color.
“Research Mentoring to Advance Inclusivity in STEM” (RMAIS) is the most recent recipient of funding through the Collaborative’s grant program. It’s also the first project to emphasize and support gender-inclusivity with research mentoring in STEM by involving faculty and students at the undergraduate and graduate levels. For more on this program, check out this SOURCE story.
In collaboration with CSU Writes, the Women & Gender Collaborative has sponsored Mondays First, a program that supports women faculty in their writing, publishing, and productivity. These monthly writing sessions provide community, opportunities to discuss challenges and strategies, and – of course – space to write and set the tone for the month! We are also planning two additional summer writing retreats for women faculty, including one to specifically support junior women faculty who are new to CSU.
Finally, we are increasing opportunities to bring women of color together to enhance networking and community building. The annual Women of Color Summit takes place each summer and has been getting better and better over the past few years, but each year we hear that people want more time to get together and connect. In response, the Women & Gender Collaborative has sponsored Women of Color Luncheons for the fall and spring semesters to help create more continuity for connections leading up to the Summit. (For more information and to get on the registration invite list, contact the Office of the Vice President for Diversity.)
And we are still moving forward.
With all of this expansion, the Women & Gender Collaborative remains committed to increasing opportunities for education and engagement for all faculty, staff, and students at CSU, and we recognize the incredible amount of creative and innovative efforts going on around campus to improve the culture and climate around gender and make CSU the best place for women to work and learn.
Our ask is that each of you find ways to learn more, support others, integrate gender inclusivity into your own behaviors and practices, and keep going! It may feel slow, but culture change happens when we all get involved. If we all continue to find ways to expand and leverage our efforts by collaborating across units and programs, we will ensure that we are part of that change!
Thanks for all you do,