As a product of the Topeka Public Schools system, a Monroe School attendee, and a 1970 graduate of Topeka High School, Dr. New was able to personally navigate the unique blueprint of an educational system that contained vestiges of racism, sexism, and low expectations for academic success among students of color. Her professional career has been dedicated to returning to this same system and doing all within her power as a school administrator to equalize the playing field for all students. This talk will focus on our education system, both past and present, through the eyes of someone who is brown living in the city of the Brown v. Board decision.
Women are constantly being barraged with ideas of femininity and feminism. How do we internalize this, and most importantly, how do we externalize this? How do we let this manifest toward one other? Are these proposals of strength and “leaning in” empowering us? Are we drawing on our strengths or preying upon each other’s weaknesses? It is my proposal that our constraints can be our capabilities. Dr. Lakhani believes instead of trying to become more like our male counterparts, if we accent the “girl” in all of us, then, as Beyoncé sang it, we can “RUN THE WORLD.”
Expectations of what it means to be feminine, or what it means to be a woman, vary wildly based on cultural and societal factors. But why are women looked at differently than men in the first place? It isn’t just the anatomy; traditions, expectations, and societal definitions of what it means to be a “normal girl” all play a part. When women choose to break these expectations or definitions, not only is it unexpected, but often it is feared or mocked. When we treat “different” as something shameful, it hurts our developing young women. We need to redefine what “feminine” means. It’s time for girls to step up and change the definition “normal girl,” but we can’t do it alone. We need your help to create Our Own Femininity.
Too often, women are judged by their emotions, whether it is being deemed too emotional or too detached, and this can hinder women in the workplace. The focus of this talk is to “own our emotions” in a way that allows us to continue bringing our own unique flair to each job without sacrificing ourselves in the process. It will also discuss striking a balance between emotional attachment and detachment.
Brittany’s full TEDxTopekaWomen talk:
A 2014 MIT study found that women-only Business Partnerships achieve a higher-level of cooperation, happiness, and overall job satisfaction than their male counterparts. Yet, women-only business partnerships do not always yield higher productivity. This presentation will help women understand the advantages they have in the workplace and how they can establish better work-related expectations.
After years of working with mostly female victims of domestic and sexual violence, Michelle began working in a program designed to offer a change process to abusive men (mostly). This powerful paradigm shift helped her to explore the harmful societal constructs we use to raise boys (“boys don’t cry”, “be a real man”, “show no weakness”) which can cause harm to boys/men and ultimately to girls/women.
These societal constructs have created a version of masculinity that is extreme. Author Jackson Katz calls this “toxic masculinity”. These hyper-masculine standards of what creates a “real man” cheat men from many healthy emotional experiences. Often, they are taught that emotions are feminine and that feminine is weak. If we teach these boys/men that the worst thing they could be in the world is female, how will they learn to value girls/women? If we are to ever prevent and end issues of violence against women, it will be because we changed the way we raise boys and treat men.
For most of us, there is something that seems to happen during the middle school years that starts to separate us from taking care of ourselves. We subjugate our true feelings so much that we can become detached from ourselves. We no longer acknowledge what we need to feel calm, relaxed, and content. The societal push to strive, seek, and reach puts aside our true need for connection with nature, ourselves, and each other.
A growing body of research supports the theory that connecting with nature, self, and others is a potential remedy for this problem. We can address depression, anxiety, self concept, feelings of isolation, and stress by simply Going Outside! It isn’t selfish to practice self care – it’s imperative to our health and well being.
Go outside – relax – notice what is around you – breathe – play – adventure!