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The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Women’s History Month

A talk about its importance
Photo of Dr. Palmer with Balou Rasoanaivo, the primary leader of the LGBTQ+ activist movement in Madagascar, provided by Dr. Palmer

With Women’s History Month coming to an end, The Captain’s Log had the opportunity to talk with some professors on campus who are involved in women, gender, and sexuality studies here at CNU. Dr. Danielle Stern, who serves as a professor in the Department of Communication, and Dr. Seth Palmer, a professor in the Department of Anthropology.

Dr. Palmer and Dr. Stern are both involved in research surrounding gender equity and social equality. 

Stern worked with a recent graduate, Danielle Freeman, on evidence-based research interviewing black women surrounding their experiences of vulnerability at predominantly white institutions. Stern’s current research is working on evidence-based results of teaching yoga to incarcerated populations. She is working with Dr. Mica Deckard at Old Dominion University to get grant money together to sustain the program to show the benefits of yoga for incarcerated populations. 

Palmer just finished a scoping paper on the state of LGBT rights and lived experiences in Madagascar. It’s the first English language research report on the state of LGBT rights in Madagascar that’s going to be available to everyone online. 

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During a time of uncertainty regarding women’s rights and gender equality, it’s important to recognize Women’s History Month for many reasons. CNU continues to address issues surrounding gender equality on campus, and both faculty members and students play a huge role in that. 

Palmer said, “Obviously as a faculty member, there are avenues that I have to be able to voice concerns, as far as the discrepancy between feminist values and CNU policy. But as we know, based on history, it’s actually students who have far more power in terms of getting an institution to change its policies.” 

Women’s History Month can serve as a catalyst for ongoing dialogue and action throughout the year. Stern said, “It’s good to have a marker of a month, as a reminder, and to centralize women’s contributions when that has typically been pushed to the margins. But we don’t want it to be isolated just to that one month. I want to encourage my students to think about gender in their classes, even if it’s not a class about gender. ”

Stern and Palmer both encourage student organizations on campus to continue the work they’re doing on campus and in the Newport News area. Stern explained an organization called The Feminist Alliance which was once on campus. She said, “I would love to see students revitalize that. I would love to encourage students to be more organized around feminism and centering women in feminism on campus.”

Palmer gave a shoutout to the Planned Parenthood Generation Action Club and said, “ I think we’re in a difficult period and it’s really important for students to feel like they have power, and they really do. It starts with small things on campus, and I’m really proud of the work they’re doing.” 


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    AnonymousMar 28, 2024 at 7:44 pm

    Wow this girl is an amazing writer