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FHSU panel looks at gender-equality

4/9/2014

By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

egolden@dailynews.net

The Women’s Leadership Project at Fort Hays State University hosted an international women’s panel, where students from various countries spoke of their experiences with oppression, cultural differences and gender-based discrimination.

Germany, South Korea, China, Jordan, Ukraine and Gambia were represented.

According to 2013 Census Bureau data, women in the U.S. are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men on average.

The lack of gender-equality in the U.S. is reflected in business and politics as well.

Out of 100 U.S. senators, 20 are women, and 4 percent of the Fortune 500 companies have a woman CEO.

“We have quite a way to go in terms of our politics to reach gender-equality,” said Christie Brungardt, director of WLP. “I think young people in the U.S. don’t even know the truth of the matter. Sometimes people think we have reached gender-equality. Not even close.”

Serhiy Zhykin, a graduate student from Ukraine, said men and women are treated equal in his country.

All employees are hired based on work history, regardless of gender.

That situation is similar to the environment in Gambia, a country in west Africa.

“Africa is completely different than it’s portrayed on television,” said sophomore Fatoumatta Darboe. “I’ve never experienced gender violence or child abuse. All employment is equal.”

South Korea is transitioning toward progression by recently electing its first female president, said freshman Yeongsu Han.

In Germany, women often struggle for gender-equality and might fail to make the same wages as men.

“Germany is very progressive, and women are trying to fix this,” said freshman Goar Zatrjan. “Women are very career focused.”

Zatrjan said the birthrate in Germany is low because women put higher priorities on their careers.

“The government tries to encourage families to have more children by giving them more money,” Zatrjan said.

Ukraine has the same policy.

On the contrary, China continually is stressing the one-child policy due to overpopulation.

“In some rural places, you can have another child if your first child is a girl,” said sophomore Mingwei He. “They need more laborers, but most people in the city can’t have a second child.”

Although certain families might want a boy, He said, equal education exists between men and women.

WLP is hosting Rise of the Girl Week, focusing on how education can empower females.

“Girl Rising,“ a film focusing on oppression in various countries, will be screened at 7:30 p.m. today in the Black and Gold room in Memorial Union.

On Thursday, WLP will be informing students about women in congress and the history of women’s efforts to earn the right to vote. A booth will be set up in Memorial Union from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On April 16, WLP will be hosting the $tart $mart $alary Negotiation Workshop, an event dedicated to educating women about the importance of salary negotiation. The event will be from 3 to 6 p.m. in Rarick Hall 301.