Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Professor explores gender biases

Friday, February 24, 2012

Over 160 years ago Sojourner Truth stood up for women's rights and gave her famous "Ain't I a Woman" speech at the Akron's Women's Convention.

Dr. Camesha Hill-Carter, professor in the education department at Southeast Missouri State University, said even in the 21st century many of the society and gender biases that plagued women then are still prevalent today.

As part of the Athenaeum Series sponsored by Kent Library, Hill-Carter gave a curent perspective of Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman" speech on Feb. 22 at Sadie's Place in Kent Library.

"We try to be equal but we're yet ridiculed," Hill-Carter said. "How powerful are we as women? What can we do to change the world for the next generation?"

Hill- Carter talked about Michele Duggar and how society ridiculed her for her decision to have so many kids. Duggar is the mother on "19 Kids and Counting" an American reality TV show that focuses on her, her husband and their 19 kids.

"Anyone that wants to have twenty kids, God bless them," Hill-Carter said. "But society thinks something is wrong when a woman wants to do so. This is evident in our media. No one had a heart for her until her 20th child died. She was ridiculed for just bringing life into the world."

Religion, politics, women's issues, education, independence and self-concept were among the various themes that were discussed during the event.

Approximately 40 people were in attendance. Lisa Scherer, a Southeast education major came back to Southeast after having her children. Scherer said the event was empowering.

"As a woman I think that it is important for us to hear what she had to say," Scherer said. "I came because I like the style of her teaching and I think that she is a very interesting woman. One of the biases that I have faced in my life is going back to college. I'm a non- traditional student, and many people haven't been supportive of me because I don't fit the stereotypical role."

Hill- Carter offered her advice on how young women can deal with biases and said that women don't have to do what society tells them.

"The only person that controls your destiny is you," Hill-Carter said. "You have to love you. People love you from the outside, in. But you have to love yourself from the inside, out. You can't be afraid of what people think. You can only control you, and you control your own destiny."

On Feb. 29, the Athenaeum Series will continue with guest speaker Dr. Seidu Sofu from the Department of Health. Sofu will present Educational Transfer in British West Africa: The Case of Ghana Ghana in Sadie's Place at noon.