It is important for women to stick together and support each other. This is why Ambitious Women Society hosted a Women’s Forum where student and faculty guest speakers discussed a variety of feminist issues.
Chiemeka Onyemechara, the AWS founder and president, said she wanted to create an environment where women at ULM felt comfortable to speak about topics society tends to shy away from. So, AWS brought together a panel of women from campus to inspire others to discuss the issues as well.
“We felt that we needed something that would aim to enlighten women on campus on issues that they are afraid to talk about and let them know there is a place of comfort where they can talk about them,” said Onyemechara, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major.
The focus of the forum ranged from topics society expectations, relationships, fitness and health, safety and protection to sexuality and financial literacy.
One of the guest speakers, Destiny Gilmore, said that she thinks women are under a lot of pressure to look and act a certain way.
“I believe that society expects us to always look our best 24/7. We have to have our nails and hair done, and decent clothes on while wearing a smile,” said Gilmore, a junior pre-pharmacy major.
Relationship advice was one of the biggest topics talked about by student guest speaker Shacorria Green. To her, communication is key to a successful relationship. As the president of ULM’s NAACP, she helped represent women of color at the Women’s Forum.
“Besides respect and loyalty being my number one thing, I believe relationships must have effective communication. Everything should be able to be handled with talking things out despite what the situation might be,” said Green, a junior criminal justice major.
Asja Jordan, a senior communication major, informed how to live a more fit and healthy lifestyle. She said one must start by loving the good and bad sides of themselves first. Then, one must gradually work to improve their physical strength.
Dr. Tammy Johnston, an economics professor, spoke about the importance of financial literacy among women and how to make the right financial choices when going into the workforce. She said to be sure to set up a savings account through your employer so money is already put into your retirement plan or some type of savings account before it enters your checking account.
Treina Kimble, the Title IX coordinator at ULM, touched on how there are many different ways women define themselves sexually and that there is no true way a woman should act when it comes to being sexual. Kimble also discussed the steps to take when attempting to help a sexual abuse victim.
“Be supportive and don’t blame someone of sexual assault,” Kimble said. “See if they need medical attention, psychological help and then report the incident if they are willing to.”
Serenity Smith, a Monroe police officer, explained how valuable it is for women to be aware of their surrounds and open-minded to telling others who they are with. She said getting physically fit and carrying some type of weapon like pepper spray can be important for self-defense.
Many students came to the forum because they were interested in hearing the viewpoints of other women and to take their advice into consideration.
“I learned different tips for my safety, how to save my money and invest in myself, and how to gain more confidence and learn my worth,” said Jakalah Howard, a junior biology major.