In a time where women are considered equal to men, senior vice president of Panhellenic Public Relations Katharine Davies said she still believes Miami University could foster a stronger female presence at the university.
Her goal to empower Miami’s female population led her to partner with the Women’s Center and Women in Business to establish the first annual Women’s Empowerment Week-a five-day series of activities geared at boosting the female role on campus. This event began Oct. 14 and continued throughout the rest of this week.
“About a year ago, we wanted to create a program that was bigger than us,” Davies said. “This program-Woman’s Empowerment Week-is meant to strengthen the woman’s role on campus. It includes different elements of the issues women face on campus.”
According to Davies, these issues include negative self-image, physical and sexual violence, security, male-dominated workplace and overall health. She said she realized that these concerns were prevalent enough on campus that not one single student could combat them, but she could utilize her high position in Panhellenic to help.
“There are a lot of issues that women are facing on campus and no one was in a position to do anything about it besides us [at Panhellenic],” she said. “I think that the Miami environment is not that favorable to women; it is not that safe and it is not that empowering. In our position, we have the resources and the manpower to be able to change this. So we saw it as our responsibility to make this campus better and make the lives of women better.”
She said she and several other women’s organizations on campus, such as the Women’s Center and Women in Business, organized five major events in which all university members could participate. The events were free, and consisted of Zumba on Central Quad, a self-defense class, a lesson on salary-negotiating, a manicure-pedicure session for women in the hospital and “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes”, where men make a lap around Cook Field wearing high heels. So far, Davies noted that about 200 people have participated.
She added that she expects Women’s Empowerment Week will have a profound, positive effect on Miami’s female population.
“I hope women come out of this week feeling like they are not alone, that this is a community that supports them,” she said. “And I hope that they feel confident and empowered and beautiful, and that they never feel like the world is against them.”