As a part of Women’s Week for 2018, Campus Life and the Department of Professional Studies teamed up to sponsor a presentation over “Feminism vs. Womanism: Examination of a Sisterhood.” Assistant Professor of Professional Studies, Dr. Tenille Lasker-Scott presented, allowing open-ended discussion and feedback.
The hour-long presentation included discussions not over the difference between feminism or womanism, but over what the main issues that both feminism and womanism fight for.
At first, Lasker-Scott started the audience with discussing with other members of the audience each one’s views of feminism and womanism. When Lasker-Scott asked in general on who in the audience was a feminist, most of the twenty raised their hands. Although, Stacy McKisick, visiting instructor of rehabilitation science, said this about feminism, “I don’t really identify as being a feminist. I don’t know if it’s that I don’t know enough about it, or when you put the two side by side, I can identify a lot more with being womanism than I can with feminism.” Because Lasker-Scott made the statement that she believes, “Feminism is fluid, just like I believe gender is. What I believe feminism is may not be what you believe feminism is. I am not a feminist. I’m a womanist. I’m a black feminist. But I look at it from a womanist view.”
The rest of the presentation included educating the audience on the three waves of feminism and what each included. The wave of feminism that reigns today is the third wave, which started in the 1990’s and is still prevalent. Today, feminism involves issues with the social classes, transgender rights and abortion. Types of feminism, Lasker-Scott discussed, are the liberal and conservative versions, black womanist, multiracial and postcolonial feminism. Most feminism types focus on women’s rights, but the difference in each of them will focus on what is personal to each of the types.
Lasker-Scott discussed what she called the “Dangerous Dissension.” This includes the issue of pay wages, the glass elevator and medical racial bias. Lasker-Scott showed that for every dollar a white man makes, a white woman makes 77 cents. And for other races, the numbers keep going down. It is 64 cents to every dollar for black women, and 56 cents for Latina women. Her research included women in poverty in general. The statistic for poor households showed that 56.2 percent of poor children are headed by women.
She also explained the concept of the glass elevator effect, where women watch men, often Caucasian, grab corporate and CEO positions. One concept that could be seen as most
alarming was the medical racial bias of an African-American woman named Henrietta Lacks. In 1951, Lacks died from cancer, and scientists made an extreme discovery and made a ton of money off of the research, never telling her family about it.
The event took place during ATU Women’s Week of 2018. This event was an OnTrack program.