Organization of Women Leaders holds Intersectionality Panel to begin Women's Empowerment Week


Panelists speak during the Organization of Women Leaders' Intersectionality Panel Nov. 12 in Anspach 162.

The Organization of Women Leaders (OWLS) hosted an Intersectionality Panel to kickstart their Women’s Empowerment Week. 

The panel, held Nov. 12 in Anspach Hall, consisted of 10 individuals who spoke about topics regarding intersectionality, a term the Merriam-Webster website defines as, "The complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect."

The majority of these panelists were leaders who came from a variety of groups on campus including Registered Student Organization A Mile in Our Shoes, Men About Change and Chief Diversity Officer A.T. Miller.

Organizers said the main goal for choosing the panelists was to create a diverse panel that could shed light on a variety of topics. 

“We wanted a diverse group of panelists because we really wanted to bring a bunch of different experiences and backgrounds to this panel," Cadillac senior Brianna Maturen said. "You can’t have a panel (on intersectionality) without that kind of representation, so that was really important to us.” 

The night started with the panelists discussing their own definitions of intersectionality. From there, topics ranged from privileges certain groups have to how Central Michigan University deals with diversity directly on campus. 

Some panelists opened up about personal stories and opinions. Detroit senior Charde Goins was one of them. 

“I spoke on this panel because I really do feel as though women’s empowerment and just women’s issues and social issues in general really need to be talked about," Goins said. "Not only on this campus as a (primarily white institution), but also in society among our peers."

The panel eventually opened the floor to audience members, requesting questions on any topics discussed. The question portion closed the night. 

OWLs President Emily Jones considered the event a success.  

“We had a lot of different perspectives and I think that the panelists were happy they did get the opportunity to come and share their experiences (and) speak their mind about things," Jones said. "I wanted to effect people’s lives and educate people on different topics and I think that we did a really great job getting those topics across and asking the right questions."