March is Women’s History Month and the men and women of Women’s Caucus are making sure it is thoroughly celebrated.

As March approaches, Women’s Caucus already has two campaigns underway. One, the Never Go Back campaign, has been launched to prevent the Roe vs. Wade decision made in the ’70s from being overturned.

This project and another, a petition to gain access to emergency contraceptions over the counter, are brainchildren of the Feminist Majority Foundation. Women’s Caucus often supports projects publicized by this larger parent group.

The president of Women’s Caucus, senior Elyse Gilbert, believes that there is a stigma on campus toward the word and concept of feminism.

“A stereotype that goes with feminism is that women are bra-burning extremists and it’s really all about egalitarianism,” Gilbert said.

Women’s Caucus is a feminist group whose goal is campus education. Each year, the group raises awareness on issues affecting women — topics such as domestic violence, reproductive rights, human rights, women’s health and sexual harassment. Another main goal of the group is to provide career-building opportunities for its members.

Women’s Caucus is bringing speaker, activist and author Sister Souljah to campus March 19. Souljah will highlight women’s health issues in her presentation.

The group will also co-sponsor a Reproductive Rights Panel Discussion with Amnesty International March 27. Two pro-choice panelists and two pro-life panelists will discuss their views on abortion, and then participate in an open question and answer session.

In February, Women’s Caucus raised awareness on campus with several programs. They helped bring Eve Ensler’s smash-hit play, “The Vagina Monologues” to Strong Auditorium on Valentine’s Day.

The controversial off-Broadway show has raised over $8 million through benefit performances since 1998 — money that has been used to help end violence toward women.

The group’s Clothesline Project recently filled Wilson Commons with decorated T-shirts. “Shirts were made by people who feel passionate about ending domestic abuse,” Gilbert said.

April’s 5-kilometer race will benefit the Feminist Majority’s Campaign to Help Afghan Women and Girls, which provides aid for education and health care to Afghanis.

During senior Alison Schroth’s presidency, which began three years ago, she expanded membership — early on only a handful of people attended meetings regularly — and introduced new programs like “The Vagina Monologues.” Schroth now serves as business manager for the group.

“I’m really happy about the membership this year. We have a good number of people coming to every meeting,” Schroth said. “People get the idea that it’s not an exclusive thing.”

Women’s Caucus meets Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. in the Havens Lounge. Weiss can be reached at jweiss@campustimes.org.



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