Women’s Center celebrates 100 women

Ceylin Arias/Staff Writer

As part of Diversity Week beginning April 3 and lasting until the 7, the University will be hosting its first annual “100 Women” event.

“The week will celebrate FIU’s identity as a minority-majority serving institution. The university has a huge international population and a vibrant, diverse staff and student body. Diversity week is all about platforming diversity,” said Allison Sardinas, a graduate assistant with the Center for Women’s and Gender studies. “We still live in a society where women’s voices are often silenced and their hardships trivialized. Part of our goal in participating in Diversity Week is to help give women their voices back and amplify them throughout the community.”

This year’s nominees are University alumna Lissette Mendez, director of programs for the Miami Book Fair; Gabby Benavente, a second year M.A. candidate in English Literature at FIU; teaching assistant and founder of Miami GRRRL, Audrey Aradanas; and Sandy Skelaney, program director for the initiative for Gender Violence Prevention at the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, according to Sardinas,

At the event, held on Thursday, April 6, students can expect an introduction session showing short videos featuring each woman’s story, followed by a panel discussion and a Q&A with the nominees.

Among stories of chronic illnesses and homelessness, Benavente will speak on her experience being a trans woman and a survivor of rape and Mendez will share her immigration story in the well-known Mariel boatlift.

FIU’s 100 Women event promotes #herstory. That is to say, it promotes the polyphony of inspirational stories and voices from the amazing community of women who make up FIU,” said Sardinas. “We believe that it’s important to highlight those who have overcome adversity in order to abolish stereotypes and taboos that surround trauma and other problems women face. We want people to know that they’re not alone in their struggles, but we also aim to humanize those struggles through the stories of our nominees.”

Furthermore, Sardinas hopes the event will help foster a community of compassion and networking, characteristics she says already exists at the University.

“Sometimes, you never know the story of the person next to you. In addition, we think it’s important to stress that many people have struggles, and part of being a leader is dealing with what life throws at you. All of these women have overcome various obstacles to achieve success. And for many of them success is defined by happiness, fulfillment, mental health, etc — not necessary material wealth,” continued Sardinas.

The event will be take place from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the Academic Health Center 3, room 110. For more information, visit FIU’s Women and Gender studies center website or call (305) 348-2408.


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