#WCW: Our Senior Interns!

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From left to right: Brianna, Sofia, Megan, and Jasmine

We can’t believe that it’s the last week of classes- the last day, actually- this year, and we really can’t stand to see our seniors go. Brianna, Sofia, Megan, and Jasmine- you are all our woman crushes everyday, not just this Wednesday!

Here’s a little bit about why we’ll miss you (sorry that it’s so cheesy

Brianna (sorry for the rudimentary photoshop job), thanks for being the best social media & communications co-intern I could’ve asked for! There would be no tumblr without you– you’re much funnier than I am (I just supply the gifs). You’re going to be the coolest social worker ever, and I’m going to miss your presence around the women’s center. At least I’ll be able to keep up with your shenanigans with your Facebook statuses, which give me life (hearing someone speak so candidly about classism, racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression is honestly inspiring).

Sofia, your presence always brings a sense of serenity/calm. You’re never afraid to speak your mind to stand up for what’s right, and you were an amazing Gender 101 facilitator because you’re so down-to-earth and relatable. Your empathy and compassion will be missed when you leave campus!!!

Megan, you are going to be the best teacher ever! Thank you for all the work that you’ve done on campus to raise awareness about and help survivors of sexual assault. You somehow are both so composed/serious yet so hilarious at the same time, and your singing and other antics will be missed dearly!

Jasmine, you brought so many people at the Women’s Leadership Awards to tears last night; your passion for the first-gen movement on campus is so inspiring. Thanks for making Harvard feel like home, and for your smile and laugh!

And for all of the seniors- thank you for being unapologetic about your beliefs and not toning down your feminism for anyone!! Please, please, please come visit us back in Canaday whenever you are around!

 

#HCWC #WCW: Dr. Genevieve Clutario

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I had a very interesting discussion with a lot of my friends the other day about how many of them have never had a female-identified professor at Harvard. I began to wonder why that may be the case; do departments consciously think about gender when giving professors tenure and undergraduate classes? And what about the gender gap in many fields, particularly mathematics and computer science?

I realized that I’ve been particularly blessed to have had so many wonderful, strong women as role models at Harvard, and one of the ones that I admire most is Professor Genevieve Clutario. As an Asian American, I have never really had many role models, academic or cultural, that look like me or can identify with my lived experiences. Professor Clutario was my first Asian American female teacher in any capacity, and I’m thrilled to have taken two classes with her: Gender and Empire this semester, as well as Colonization, Globalization, and Cultures of Asian Diaspora[s].

Professor Clutario is amazing for many reasons, but the one that I’m really thankful for is the fact that she takes it upon herself to educate her students about vocabulary that is often tossed around without much thought. For instance, in both classes she took a lot of time to explain what intersectionality is, a word that I haven’t learned about in an academic setting, what gender is, and how to use gender and intersectionality as lenses to view history (and events today). She also makes sure to explain a lot of references because she does not assume that everyone will know what she is talking about– for instance, when discussing Christian imagery in ads for adoption, she described the image of Madonna and Child and why it is significant in our culture.

However, what stood out to me is the fact that Professor Clutario made sure that everyone, regardless of gender, knew what exactly a tampon is and what each type of birth control does. I’ve never had a professor or teacher talk so explicitly about birth control or even tampons in my classes, and that is after nearly fifteen years of school and four years of health class.

Even if Professor Clutario talks about some really heavy subjects, such as sexual assault in history (ex. spending a great deal of time going over the plight of Korean comfort women, a chapter of history that is often erased or forgotten), she does so while being relatable and lovable. Every person I know who has taken one of her classes gushes about them because she is approachable, funny, and passionate.

Outside of the classroom, Professor Clutario continues to engage with undergraduates, working as an advisor to the Asian American Studies working group. She’s truly one of the biggest role models I’ve found on campus and my #WCW every day!

#WCW 4/13/16: Dr. Sabeti

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Picture from Wikipedia

Our #HCWC #WCW this week is Dr. Pardis Sabeti, a professor in the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology department. Dr. Sabeti was featured in TIME 2015’s 100 Most Influential People for her work in identifying that the ebola virus was being transmitted from human to human and not through animal vectors or other sources. She and her lab constantly do significant global health related science research for malaria, ebola, and lassa fever. Pretty awesome!!

Dr. Sabeti is also a musician. In her free time she is also the lead singer of the band Thousand Days, a female-fronted alternative rock band that performs in Boston. Their songs are available for streaming on Soundcloud!

In summary, Pardis Sabeti is a rockstar–both literally and figuratively- who challenges, motivates, and inspires us at the women’s center not only to break  barriers in academia, and to help people around the world, but also to have fun and do what we love, whatever it may be!

#HCWC #WCW: The Members of Pussy Riot

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Picture taken from Amnesty International’s Flickr Page here.

Our first Woman Crush Wednesday this month is dedicated to the women in the feminist punk-rock group Pussy Riot. Last year, I got to see two of its members, Nadezhda and Maria, speak at the Harvard Institute of Politics and I can attest that they are just as amazing and awe-inspiring in person as they are with their online presence.

The group was founded five years ago and became famous for its guerilla performances of music in public that was in opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Pussy Riot’s music champions feminism, refugee rights, and rights for the LGBTQ* community as well as acts as a form of protest against the human rights abuses against Russian civilians by its government. One of the coolest videos you can see of the group is”Punk Prayer” (where the group performs inside of Christ the Savior Cathedral), in which the group protests the Russian Orthodox Church’s support of Putin back in 2012.

As a result of the performance, two of its members, Nadezha Andreyevna Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were famously imprisoned (they were released after one year after immense public pressure from human rights organizations). At the time, the two women were in their early twenties and each had a four-year-old child that they had to leave behind. Both have been outspoken about the treatment they received while incarcerated, particularly because Maria collapsed from hunger because her nutritional needs (veganism) were not acknowledged. Though they were released in 2013, they were imprisoned in Sochi in 2014 and footage has been revealed of the two women being whipped by Cossacks in the area.

Aside from its activism in Russia, Pussy Riot members have also called to attention injustices in the United States. For example, they protestedpolice brutality with its song “I Can’t Breathe” and are campaigning for Bernie Sanders in this presidential election (at the same time, the group opposes Donald Trump and his racist/misogynistic ideologies, and have protested against him around the United States and spoken out about his views on their Twitter). While at Harvard, Maria and Nadezha even went to the Cambridge Police Department to learn more about an audience attendee who was arrested for entering the University.

Thank you Pussy Riot for challenging, motivating, and inspiring us at the Women’s Center to fight for human rights every day!