How Do We Improve the Status of Women Worldwide?

On Tuesday, March 24, Rollins College hosted a forum that explored the social, political, and economic issues facing women around the world.

In celebration of Women’s History Month and United Nations International Women’s Day, Rollins hosted “Improving the Status of Women Worldwide.” The event featured Rep. Patricia Schroeder ’01; Judith Kaplan, a former board member of the National Women’s History Museum; Sharmistha Banerjee, Global Links Scholar; Elinor Steele ’01MBA, vice president of Tupperware Brands; Ruth Edwards, director of civic engagement at Winter Park Public Library; Sandy Saccullo ’02, founder and president of OneClique; Nicole Inclan ’14, coordinator of Lucy Cross Center for Women and Their Allies; Barbara Zdravecky, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida; and Dave O’Connor, president of United Nations Association – Orlando.

Delivering the keynote speech, Schroeder talked about women in politics. “It troubles me to no end that we’re having such a hard time getting women in government,” she said.

“We’re so used to seeing women as consumers and making them neurotic,” she continued. While holding up an issue of Glamor magazine, she lamented how women get caught up in trying to look like the models on the cover of magazines and trying to be perfect that “you’ve suddenly written yourself off as someone who can do this.”

The additional speakers discussed women in history, in other cultures, in business, in society, and in regards to health care. “Women’s health care is at risk in this country. It’s very much at risk in Florida,” Zdravecky said.

After each speaker addressed the audience gathered in the Galloway Room, they broke off into small breakout sessions to discuss and brainstorm solutions for a variety of topics from bullying and catcalling to political representation and reproductive rights.