By Frances Clause
Youngstown State University celebrates Women’s History Month with featured speakers, discussions and awareness on women’s issues and the slogan “Rise Up” throughout March.
The scheduled events range from sexual harassment discussions to lectures on the representation of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity in television and movies.
Ahjah Johnson, associate professor at YSU, said students not enrolled in a women’s studies course can benefit from these events by being introduced to similar topics taught in the course.
“I have covered my [women’s studies] course to introduce many topics such as gender violence, intersectionality, environmental feminism and more,” she said. “I think in today’s society, this course could not be more relevant to what is going on in the world today.”
Jordan Grantonic, a senior music performance major, believes it is crucial for male students to attend the women’s month events to better understand the issues women face every day.
“It’s impossible to truly understand what another person is going through — in this case, women — if you aren’t completely open to creating a dialogue with them,” she said. “The only way gender equality has any hope of advancing is if everyone fights back.”
Grantonic said she is lucky she has not been subject to any injustices in her music career, but other women in the industry are not so lucky.
“There seems to be countless stories about older, male teachers taking advantage of their female students, as well as musicians in comparable positions in a top orchestra receiving massive pay differences, seemingly because of their gender,” she said.
“Not just men in the music industry, but men in general, need to stand up and say something when a female colleague or friend is being discriminated against,” Grantonic added.
Staff Sgt. Rachel Minto, a fifer in the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, said she also has not experienced injustices as a female musician, but acknowledges that many women in military ensembles before her faced significant discrimination.
“Orchestras and military ensembles use to be all male. The first female in the Old Guard, the infantry regiment to which I am assigned, was a fifer, like me,” she said. “I am humbled by the work previous generations of women did so that I may feel confident as a female soldier musician.”
Minto earned her bachelor’s degree from YSU in 2014 and a master’s degree in flute performance at Arizona State University. She is one of seven women being recognized for her personal and professional accomplishments through YSU’s “Penguin Women on the Move.”
“I had many wonderful peers at the Dana School of Music who constantly supported and encouraged me,” she said. “All of my flute teachers have been women, and they all have been very inspiring.”
“Penguin Women on the Move,” sponsored by the Office of Alumni Engagement and the Department of Women and Gender Studies, will honor Minto and the other alumni at a luncheon March 22 at noon in the James Gallery of Kilcawley Center.
For a list of more upcoming Women’s History Month events, go to: https://wgs.ysu.edu/category/events/womens-history-month-2018/