Welcome to the conversation!

Welcome to the conversation!

Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) best-selling anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), made her the most famous American woman of the 19th century and galvanized the abolition movement before the Civil War.

The Stowe Center is a 21st-century museum and program center using Stowe's story to inspire social justice and positive change.

The Salons at Stowe programs are a forum to connect the challenging issues (race, gender and class) that impelled Stowe to write and act with the contemporary face of those same issues. The Salon format is based on a robust level of audience participation, with the explicit goal of promoting civic engagement. Recent topics included: Teaching Acceptance; Is Prison the New Slavery; Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North; Creativity and Change; Race, Gender and Politics Today; How to be an Advocate

This blog will expand the reach of these community conversations to the online audience. Add your posts and comments to keep the conversation going! Commit to action by clicking HERE to stay up to date on Salon and social justice news.

For updates on Stowe Center programs and events, sign up for our enews at http://harrietbeecherstowe.org/email.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Event Recap: Half the Sky, Turning Oppression Into Opportunity

The key to success lies in empowering women and unleashing their potential. What are communities doing to support females from an early age? 

Deborah Ullman: YWCA of the Hartford Region
  • Early learning is critical: this gets boys and girls off to a good start
  • Programs for teens to provide them with options: financial literacy, empowerment, self-esteem.
  • The vision and the dream: What can you be? 
  • Taking teens to college campuses and the theater gives them exposure and a vision
  • Many people work against the system too: Women are told to work, but this doesn't always allow time for education
  • We should be measuring by poverty, but instead we need to talk about how we can all be financially secure. How can we move ourselves forward and invest in the future?
  • Women are graduating college at a higher rate. 57% of college graduates are women.
  • Out of high school, 74% of women go onto college, only 62% of men do the same. But the wage gap between men and women is still 77%.
  • Negative relationships can put girls on the wrong path, healthy relationships are so important
JoAnna Zachery: Girl Scouts of Connecticut
  • She grew up in England, with her father in the Air Force and move to the United States as a pre-teen
  • She was picked on for her color and her accent
  • Girl Scouts impacted her life 
  • The Pathways Program provides girls who are raised by moms, living in poverty, a different opportunity. They cannot always be in a traditional troop.
  • Girls Rule is an anti-bullying campaign run by Girl Scouts. 
  • Girl Scouts provides encouragement for girls to be more than they believed they could ever be.
  • It is important to develop practical skills such as eating healthy and protecting their bodies
  • Starting young, like kindergarten, with storytelling and providing girls with the knowledge that they too have a voice. 
Do you work with girls that are incarcerated?
  • No, but the juvenile justice system is doing a lot of advocacy. 
  • The YWCA has a number of women who have been incarcerated. The organization teaches them how to dress professionally, interview, and get a job, even with a record. 
  • There are a lot of cases with prostitution and drugs in Connecticut. A recent article in Vanity Fair shows that these issues are in our state too. 
  • Girl Scouts partners with the Village, a human services non-profit, in Hartford
How do you help women define what a beneficial relationship is?
  • Chrysalis Center: a shelter where the ratio of case manager to person is one to one, focus is on relationship building. 
  • Dealing with relationships with men is important
  • There is a social pattern where girls are growing up with certain behaviors. The level of respect for women and how we are viewed in media has changed. We have regressed.
  • There is a lot of respectful, on-going dialogue needed. 
  • Over-sexualization of girls is more of an issue now. Sexual relationships are being played up more. 
  • Issues with desirability and intimacy
How do you redefine what a woman's idea of intimacy is? 
  • Relationships are very important and everyone needs to realize this. 
  • Programs in Girl Scouts like "Mommy and Me" or the "Daddy and Daughter series", focus on communication. This breaks down certain barriers and encourages dialogue between daughters and parents. Girls can tell their mother something they typically talked about with girl friends
Are the Girl Scouts looking for troop leaders?
  • Yes! Right now there are volunteers from corporations and colleges, students in child development college programs, moms and dads.
What extent does history play in the image of women?
  • Girls today take a lot for granted. 
  • They are used to being able to play sports and see women in professional roles. They forget that women had to fight hard for the things they take for granted. 
How do we make girls aware of the history of women?
  • It is our job to remind and education. We plant the seeds and deliver the message
  • If Stowe could do what she did with all of the restrictions, imagine what you can do!
  • Check out the program Success Unlimited
  • Change in our culture has been increasing self-esteem, progress, and empowerment. Some have achieved this triumphantly, but many are left behind.
  • Ongoing education is needed on both racial and gender inequities
What programs are offered on racial and gender inequities?
  • Start empowering children from a young age
  • Teach financial literacy to children
  • Research opportunities for children to join organizaitons
  • Healthy relationships are critical
  • Families should build a safe, open dialogue
  • Volunteer to be a Girl Scout leader
  • Help change media/over-sexualized image of women for girls
  • Educate girls about the past

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