Diversity & Global Learning Gender Analysis
By working closely with the prestigious Dr. Valerie Hudson in the Fall 2019 semester, I was able to increase my knowledge of diversity and global learning by educating myself on the various de facto, and de jure barriers to equity women face around the world. Due to this education, I have broadened my horizons on not only gender analysis but also on intersectional analysis.
New Horizons: My Introduction to Gender Analysis
In the Fall of 2019, I enrolled in a course entitled Women and Nations. Dr. Valerie Hudson, distinguished professor, developer of the WomanStats Database, and former vice president of the International Studies Association, instructed this course to inform students on the various factors of gender inequality that affect women and girls on a global scale. The reason I took the class was because, "I would be remiss to say I want to pursue human rights work without educating myself about one-half of the population." Although I considered myself highly progressive and an overall advocate of women's rights, learning from an expert in the field opened my eyes. Because of Dr. Hudson's course, I found myself humbled, horrified, and immensely more educated about the struggles of women both domestically and internationally.
Gender Analysis as an Academic Discipline
To show respect to the class and uphold the safe space that I predicted the safe space would be, I always made sure to listen first and speak rarely. Over time, Dr. Hudson encouraged me to speak up and contribute more, but initially, my strategy was to leave the class contributions to the women of the course. By taking this course, I learned first hand how to engage and interact with individuals by first checking any habits that may be problematic. For instance, one of the best practices I have learned from Dr. Hudson are skills that can be utilized in the workplace daily. Dr. Hudson asserts that it is essential to uplift the women in the workplace and make sure their voices are heard.
Gender Analysis as a Daily Practice
For example, when in a meeting, it is statistically more likely that the women in the room will be ignored or interrupted. Therefore, it is crucial to quickly revert any input from a female coworker that was cut off back to them so that they can finish their thought. Additionally, it is always helpful to refer to your female coworkers by name, so that their input and their contribution is asserted to the rest of the group. This is because women are statistically more often to be forced to silence themselves in a team or a meeting; this can be communicated via a statement or body language. Overall, I have become much more aware of my verbal and non-verbal communication toward women and girls as a result of Dr. Hudson's course. From a human rights perspective, these are essential factors to consider. What may seem like a small gesture or a daily practice is actually a revolutionary change in how things are done within the status quo. Being able to uplift a woman in a team meeting is by and large an opportunity most women may never see in their lifetimes in other parts of the world. This is why it is imperative as a social justice advocate always to consider the intersectionality of the diverse populations one may work with.
Keep in Mind: Women are Not a Monolith
Diversity and global learning is more or less a lesson in intersectionality. As a relevant example, a female middle-class American citizen possesses an immense amount of resources to achieve gender-based equity compared to an impoverished woman in a developing country, who may legally not even be able to leave her household without a male family member's permission. Being able to understand how the comparison and contrast of a person's age, gender, race, nationality, citizenship status, sexual orientation, mental ability, and physical ability can fundamentally change the de jure and de facto access to resources an incredible skill to possess in our increasingly diverse world. Furthermore, as someone who seeks to work in the field of human rights and social justice, I must continue to practice the promotion of diversity, the analysis of intersectionality, and lifelong global learning.