Author Archive

A Day of Service

By Sarah Azizi, 12C

Saturday, March 24th, was an inspiring day for the Center for Women at Emory. In honor of Women’s History Month, the Center organized a service day for both Emory students and the Atlanta community. The day of service took place at the Jerusalem House, which is located near Emory’s main campus. The Jerusalem House provides permanent housing for Atlanta’s low-income and homeless individuals and families affected by AIDS. Our organization was introduced to the Jerusalem House through the guidance of Emory’s Office of University and Community Partnerships (OUCP). OUCP is a great resource for community initiatives, and we encourage you to check their services.

It was a beautiful day, and volunteers arrived at 9am. Greeted with bagels and beverages, our volunteers were ready to begin a hard, yet fulfilling day of yard work, planting, and indoor cleaning. Our volunteers included friends from the community, Center for Women staff, and a few students from JumpStart. The Jerusalem House staff explained that it is important to maintain the beauty of the property in order to make residents feel more comfortable and at home. Throughout the day, we planted flowers in the front yard, raked the leaves in the front and back playground area, and even mopped in stairwells inside.

The day of service ended at 12pm. The Center’s volunteers were pleased that they contributed to the Atlanta community. The staff at the Jerusalem House was extremely grateful that we had come to help, as I am sure the residents were as well. This was the second service day hosted by the Center for Women at Emory this year. The Jerusalem House service day was indeed a success!

For more information about the Jerusalem House or volunteer opportunities, please visit their website.

Categories: Community Service Tags:

A Day in the Life of a Social Media Intern

by Osayande Imarhiagbe, 13C

Osayande ImarhiagbeWeb development has always been a personal interest of mine. Working at the Center for Women has allowed me to integrate this interest into work. As a social media intern, one of the jobs I am tasked with is assisting in keeping the website up to date. Due to the great assortment of events and programs the Center holds on a regular basis, I must work on the back end of the website to keep it as up to date as possible. This means that I have gained a great deal of experience with the website’s content manager system, Cascade. While I am used to working directly with HTML and CSS, I am glad I have gained the knowledge of how to work in Cascade’s system.

Another web related task that I am also responsible for contributing to is to help keep the Center’s Facebook page updated with periodic posts on our upcoming events, relevant articles, and news from around the globe from other organizations we associate with. Interacting with your target audience is critical. As a result, Facebook is an incredibly important tool that we utilize in order to get the Center’s current message across and also to get direct feedback from friends and supporters of the Center. With over 1000 connections with people on the Center’s Facebook page, sharing articles and news is a great way to maintain the stream of dialogue that keeps the Center relevant and up to date.

Categories: Student Voices, Working at the CWE Tags:

The 2012 Vagina Monologues

by Conrad Honicker, Class of 2013; Co-producer of the 2012 show

Cast photo
The Vagina Monologues exists to bring awareness around sexual violence against women and the systematic nature of rape, assault, and abuse through the telling of individual narratives. Eve Ensler, the author of The Vagina Monologues, releases a new monologue each year that spotlights certain communities – this year being the women of Haiti, New Orleans, and the Congo. VDay, the organization that collaborates with campuses across the nation to produce The Vagina Monologues, takes proceeds from the performance and then donates it to partner organizations pertaining to the spotlight issues.

This is Emory’s 14th year producing The Vagina Monologues. Each year we donate a portion of our proceeds to VDay, as well as to a local organization that works to end violence against women. Our beneficiaries this year included the Center for Women at Emory and the Dekalb Rape Crisis Center.

Many hailed this year’s production as the best yet! With a diverse cast, Anna Millard and Stephanie Yates developed a cohesive tone message using multimedia and lighting to add layers and depth to the monologues and performances. Furthermore, their enthusiasm for the production shone through in the cast’s brilliant performance; it was as if they were each channeling the original narrator themselves.

Most importantly, in this, though, is the actual cohesiveness between the cast, the directors, and the producers. The entire production went smoothly with very few bumps, reportedly, and everyone worked together as a team. The inspiration in this is that we all shared a common vision, which is to bring awareness to the issue of violence against women. With this common vision, we were able to come together in solidarity and work to produce a fabulous performance.

If a Girl Is Not a Virgin, Is She a Whore?

by Omenka Uchendu, 12C

Well, is she? Whore is a harsh label to use, but if you think about it, women don’t have much leeway when defining a sexual identity. Depending on the situation, when a woman engages in sexual activity, she runs a high risk of being seen as “easy” or as a “slut,” the latter of which is a synonym for “whore.” Being a virgin should not mark how much a woman is worth or how “good” she is.

The most important reason why a woman’s virginity should not determine her worth is the fact that a man’s virginity does not define his. If a man messes around with or sleeps with one woman too soon he is not “easy.” If a man messes around with or sleeps with many women, or has a child out of wedlock, he is never a “slut.” This hypocritical paradigm is unfair. Although males and females are biologically different, as human beings males and females are equal and so should be held to the same moral standard.

One moral standard means that the freedom associated with male sexuality should be associated with female sexuality as well, and that men should carry as much responsibility for their sexual actions as women do. What would this look like? Innocence titleThe world would be better if a woman could confide in her mother about losing her virginity without being ex-communicated from her family. The world would be better if a woman’s brother received as much pressure to live with purity as she did. The world would be better if, after reporting sexual assault, a female (or male!) victim received support instead of suspicion or derision.

Unfortunately, the world is not perfect, and we still live in a society where women are victimized and/or demonized for their sexual choices and experiences. I have documented this madness in a symbolic, short film called “Innocence & Patriarchy,” which you can find on Youtube ( I’m not advocating another sexual revolution. All I want is for people to reconsider the current sexual double-standard and hold the men in their lives accountable for their actions.

Categories: Student Voices Tags:

Laura Turner Seydel on Women, Water, and the Environment

by Brandy Simula

Women and Water talkOn March 22, 2012, Laura Turner Seydel visited Emory and talked with members of the Emory community about women’s role in creating sustainable environmental change. Before her talk, “Women and Water: Empowering Women to Create a Sustainable Future,” I had a chance to talk with Turner Seydel about her work. Rather than having an “Aha!” moment, she told me she learned about the importance of sustainability throughout her childhood. She explained that she was raised to believe that wasting things is a sin, so her family used compost to grow roses and recycle bottles at a bottle deposit center on Northside Drive. Although she worked for Green Peace in England after college, her commitment to environmental work was deepened when she had children. “I felt the need to really ramp it up when I had my kids,” she says.

Turner Seydel argues that clean, safe water is both an environmental and economic concern. She points out that many manufacturing businesses need clear water for their manufacturing process and that workers need drinking water as well as water to irrigate the crops that feed them. She points to the Waterkeeper Alliance, an international organization of Waterkeepers representing more than 20 countries, as a model for protecting, conserving, and restoring natural resources. According to the Waterkeeper Alliance website, a Waterkeeper is “part scientist, teacher, and law officer” and “whether they’re on the water tracking down polluters, in a courtroom advocating for stronger enforcement of environmental laws, rallying community support in town meetings, or in a classroom educating young people, Waterkeepers speak for the waters they defend.” Waterkeepers are in significant demand, Turner Seydel says, and suggests that waterkeeping is “a great career opportunity for college students.” Turner Seydel herself is the founder of the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper organization here in Atlanta.

We must empower women to do sustainability work, Turner Seydel says, because women make 90% of the consumption choices in the United States and because “women are the true medium for sustainable change.” She argues that women play a critical role in teaching and spreading sustainable practices. “‘Educate a man and you educate him. Educate a woman and you educate a community.’ That saying is true,” she says.

If you missed her talk at Emory, you can check out the video of her recent TEDx talk.

Categories: Women's History Month Tags:

Take Your Scholarship Public

by Allison Adams

Institutions of higher education around the nation frequently proclaim the importance of scholarship to the public good. Emory University—with its mission statement emphasizing “knowledge in the service of humanity” and a vision statement that enjoins us to “work collaboratively for positive transformation in the world”—is no exception. But in this era of shrinking resources and growing demands for accountability in higher education—especially to the agencies, funding organizations, and communities that support it—the pressure has increased on institutions to demonstrate the transformative impact of their scholarship.

Allison Adams

Allison Adams is Managing Editor of the Academic Exchange at Emory

As New York Times columnist David Brooks succinctly put it in his 2010 defense of the humanities, “When the going gets tough, the tough take accounting.” That is, in times of high anxiety around resources and training, the cultural impulse is to fixate on the most obviously practical and utilitarian notions of education and to dismiss the rest as an intellectual luxury.

All of this means that now more than ever, scholars must be able to talk about their work in terms both comprehensible and compelling to audiences beyond their immediate fields. In other words, they must be able to effectively take their scholarship public. One way of influencing the public sphere is through external media discourse: by commenting as guest experts on television and radio news programs; serving as consultants in the development of documentaries; and writing magazine articles, op-eds, and books for trade audiences.

The voices we hear most in this world, however, come from an extremely narrow slice of society: white, wealthy and overwhelmingly male. Key commentary forums are 85% penned by men. Pundits on Sunday talk shows on TV are 84% male and 90% white; and Congress is 85% white and 83% male.

How do we cultivate more public thought leadership among women and minority scholars? It takes skill and savvy to bring your work into this milieu. It calls upon scholars to learn to say succinctly, coherently, and persuasively what their expertise is and why it is important.

Two opportunities are coming up for faculty and graduate students to learn more about cultivating such a public voice. The CWE and the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence at Emory are partnering to present a series of workshops designed to help scholars strategize in this area. The second and third of these sessions are coming up on March 26 and April 25:

Stories from the Op-Ed Front Lines
Monday, March 26, 2012
Center for Ethics
Noon-1:15 p.m.

Three Emory faculty members—Drew Westen, Professor of Psychology; Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies; and Hank Klibanoff, James M. Cox, Jr., Professor of Journalism and Pulitzer Prize winner—will share their experiences and advice as op-ed contributors in major national media outlets.

Through the Eyes of an Op-Ed Page Editor
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
ECIT 217, Woodruff Library
Noon-1:15 p.m.

Two op-ed page editors from major newspapers, Autumn Brewington from the Washington Post (via teleconference) and Tom Sabulis from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, will discuss what they seek in pitch, tone, scope, style, and other aspects of an op-ed for their papers. Bring your sharp questions and ideas.

Both of these events are open to all faculty and graduate students. Lunch will be provided for the first 25 people to RSVP. Please RSVP to Roopika Risam at

You can learn more about CWE’s Public Scholarship Initiative here and read about the Op Ed Project at Emory here.

Categories: Op-Ed, Public Scholarship Tags:

Great Sex Requires Communication

by Brandy Simula

Earlier this month, Lauren Bernstein, Sue Gloor, Sasha Smith, and I presented Communication is Sexy!, the first workshop in the Center for Women’s Great Sex Series. Workshop participants raised many important questions about sex, sexuality, and communication. Questions clustered around two main themes: how to communicate with a partner and how to do specific sexual activities—and do them well. Here, I use participants’ questions to recap some of the main points of the workshop and share additional tips and resources. Want to know more about the Great Sex Series and find upcoming workshops? Visit the Series Webpage.

Brandy Simula and Sasha Smith conduct the first workshop in the Center for Women's Great Sex Series.

How you and your partner(s) can communicate about what you like and dislike and when you’d like to stop, keep going, or try something else

Workshop participants asked about:
Read more…

A Celebration of Women and Water: Empowering Women to Create a Sustainable Future

by Kerleisha Jones, 12C
Women and Water banner

On March 22nd, in honor of both World Water Day as well as Women’s History Month, the Center for Women’s Ali P. Crown Endowment and the Center for Ethics present Women and Water: Empowering Women to Create a Sustainable Future. This discussion event will feature Laura Turner Seydel, the chair of the Captain Planet Foundation, which works to promote educational programs that engage youth in improving the environment. Seydel will be discussing the impact of women’s rights on environmental conservation and global access to safe water. The program begins at 7:00 on Thursday March 22nd at the Center for Ethics. For more information on this, as well as the other events being hosted this Women’s History Month, please visit the CWE website here. For directions to the Center for Ethics, click here.

Women’s History Month & Anniversary Wonderful Wednesday Table

By Sarah Azizi, class of 2012

Water logo

March is a significant month for the Center for Women at Emory, celebrating both the Center’s 20th Anniversary and Women’s History Month. In honor of the events, the Center is hosting a table at Wonderful Wednesday in Asbury Circle on March 7th from 11 AM until 2 PM. There is no better way to put some fun into your day!

At the WW table, students and staff will be able to participate in trivia game, focusing on questions about the Center and on women throughout history. In addition, participants will be able to enter in our raffle to win cool prizes. We’ll also be giving away candy and condoms, so stop by!

Come out and celebrate with us to learn a lot and have a chance to win a raffle. Check out all our other Women’s History Month activities!

First Up in the Center for Women’s Great Sex Series: Communication is Sexy!

by Brandy Simula

Communication Is Sexy Image

Want to have great sex? Come to the first workshop in the Center for Women’s Great Sex Series! In this workshop, you’ll learn sexual communication skills that help facilitate great sex. We’ll talk about how to figure out your own desires and communicate about sexual desires with a partner. We’ll teach you how to use tools including Yes No Maybe checksheets, pacing, check-ins, and safewords to improve your sex life and help you communicate more easily and effectively with a partner.

The workshop will be facilitated by Sasha Smith and Brandy Simula of the Center for Women.

Participants will be entered in a raffle to win a Wedge/Ramp Combo from Liberator Bedroom Adventure Gear and other great prizes!

Space is limited and participants must register by March 3rd at

Can’t attend the workshop? Check out the great resources at The Consensual Project and Scarleteen.

Next up in the series: Pleasure After Sexual Assault, presented by Lauren Bernstein, Coordinator of Sexual and Relationship Violence Prevention, Education, and Response and Brandy Simula, Doctoral Candidate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Graduate Fellow of the Center for Women at Emory. April 4th, 7-8:30pm. Room 338 in the DUC. RSVP to

Categories: Announcements, Events Tags: