Schedule preview for Women’s Empowerment Week


TPN File Photo.

Leslie Jones performed at the first Women’s Empowerment Week in March 2017.

By Maureen Hartwell, Staff Writer

Who run the world?

Since Beyonce first posed this question in 2011, many have searched for an answer. This week, it’s a topic of discussion during Pitt’s third annual Women’s Empowerment Week.

Hosted by the Student Government Board, WE Week 2019 begins Monday, March 18, and ends Saturday, March 23. Sydney Harper, 2016-17 SGB vice president, started the tradition in March 2017 to celebrate women’s achievements and highlight female empowerment.

This first WE Week included six different events, including a comedy show by Leslie Jones, a screening of the movie “Girl Rising” and an art gallery with feminist themes. This year, SGB has partnered with organizations across campus to host eight different events, including lectures, art exhibitions and workshops.

Body Autonomy Exhibition

Monday, March 18

11 a.m.-4 p.m.

WPU Ballroom

This exhibition, hosted by Pitt Unmuted, will feature artwork and writing samples from students all across campus sharing what body positivity means to them.

Maggie Medoff is the vice president of Pitt Unmuted, an organization which provides online and verbal platforms for survivors of sexual assault. Medoff, who previously worked for The Pitt News, said Unmuted encouraged students of all different races, genders and backgrounds to submit work to ensure that the display is intersectional.

“I think an event like this really challenges us to ask questions about different kinds of women and different kinds of people,” Medoff said.

According to Medoff, students in past years were hesitant to discuss topics like sexuality or body positivity in such an open way. But this year, Medoff said, the organization has received many submissions from people who openly talk about their race, gender and identity in ways not seen in previous years’ exhibitions.

Krithika Pennathur, founder and president of Unmuted, said the event aims to push away from cis- and hetero-normative representations of body positivity.

“Reflecting on who’s not in the room allows us to ask ‘what perspectives are we missing?’” Pennathur said. “Women’s Empowerment Week hopefully starts a conversation, but it’s not the end of the conversation.”

Salary Negotiation Workshop

Tuesday, March 19

5-7 p.m.

WPU Lower Lounge

Pitt’s American Association of University Women, Society of Women Engineers and Women in Business club will cohost a workshop providing tips on expressing personal value to employers, giving persuasive responses in professional settings and negotiating salaries. SGB President Maggie Kennedy said the event will simulate a professional meeting, teaching students how to identify their worth in the workplace and negotiate for a higher salary.

She said the event focuses on women-specific tips because college women don’t always recognize their own value, which can complicate the process of negotiating for a higher salary.

“The point is to tell women ‘You deserve a space in this higher education,’” Kennedy said.

Amber Krzys: Body Positivity

Tuesday, March 19

6-9 p.m.

WPU Assembly Room

The University of Pittsburgh Panhellenic Association, the umbrella group for all sorority life on campus, will host body positivity speaker and founder of various self-love organizations Amber Krzys to perform her keynote, “Fierce Loving: For Your Body.” Following her speech, attendees will participate in a photo shoot for the “bodyheart” campaign, in which they put a heart somewhere on their body that needs love.

Beyond the Buzzword: Intersectionality in Real Life

Wednesday, March 20

8-10 p.m.

WPU 548

Beyond the Buzzword, hosted by Pitt Program Council, Rainbow Alliance and Black Action Society, will facilitate a discussion on intersectionality and how it affects people from all walks of life on and off campus.

“We want to look at the folks around us and ask how we can be aware of our privilege,” Kennedy said. “Instead of being caught up in guilt of our privilege, we want to encourage using it to uplift others.”

Kennedy said the event aims to reach students who want to learn more about intersectionality and diversity.

Take Back the Night

Thursday, March 21

7-9 p.m.

WPU 918

Hosted by Pitt FEM and Asian Students Alliance, this event is a march against domestic violence, sexual assault and street harassment, which goes through the streets of Oakland. The first “Take Back the Night” at Pitt occured in 2015, in tandem with a national collegiate movement that occurs annually.

The event advocates for women to feel safe while walking around at night, highlighting the prevalence of street harassment on college campuses. Following the march, attendees can participate in an information session and discussion to explore such topics.

Who Run the World

Friday, March 22

5-7 p.m.

WPU Ballroom

This event, hosted by Pitt Girl Up and the Nursing Student Association, will focus on women internationally, highlighting cultural organizations, global health and refugees. Shreya Thakur, President of Pitt Girl Up, said the event will include a slideshow presentation, dance tutorials, a henna fundraiser and international snacks.

Girl Up, an international organization that partners with the U.N. to empower and educate women, focuses on teaching girls about sexual and reproductive health and how to work towards their goals. Thakur said the event will align with the club’s mission by educating attendees on health issues affecting women in the global sphere.

“We are hoping to shine a light on different health disparities that women are facing, especially refugee women,” Thakur said.  

On the Basis of Sex Screening

Friday, March 22

9-11 p.m.

WPU Assembly Room

Attendees of this event will view the film “On the Basis of Sex,” which details the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Doors open at 8:15 p.m. and snacks will be provided.

Empowered Women Empower Women: Leadership Summit.

Saturday, March 23

2-4 p.m.

University Club Ballroom B

This event provides attendees the opportunity to network with women leaders across campus. This summit will also present a student with the second annual Patricia E. Beeson Women’s Empowerment Award, an award available to any woman student on campus.

“We want to honor those women who work hard and really don’t get the recognition they deserve,” Kennedy said.