Panel Keeps it Real at Women’s Equality Day Luncheon

Women's Equality Day Luncheon 2019

Persistence. Sacrifice. Balance. Support.

These were some of the themes that arose at this year’s Women’s Equality Day Luncheon panel, moderated by Director of Diversity and Inclusion and Professor of Soil Science Alexandria Graves on Monday, August 26, 2019.

Hosted each year for the past four years by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the annual Women’s Equality Day Luncheon invites faculty and staff from across NC State to commemorate the 1820 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to U.S. ciitizens on the basis of sex.

The holiday was designated through a resolution passed in Congress and a proclamation issued by President Richard Nixon, both on August 26, 1973. Every year since then, U.S. presidents have signed a similar proclamation.

Past luncheons have featured single speakers, but this year’s event included a panel of six guest speakers and a moderator. Here’s a recap of some of their most memorable remarks:

  • Susan Carson, professor of plant and microbial biology, pointed to the need for persistence to overcome setbacks in women’s journeys in academia. She noted that receiving support from others, including mentors, is important for success in male-dominated fields.
  • Mari Chinn, professor of biological and anthropological engineering, spoke about equality at home as well as at work, acknowledging that the burdens that women sometimes carry can hinder success in their careers; equality takes many forms.
  • Stephanie Helms Pickett, associate vice provost for diversity engagement, training and education in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity, brought up the theme of sacrifice, acknowledging that there may be obstacles and difficult decisions to navigate, requiring women to juggle different roles at different times in their lives.
  • Joyce Munro, assistant dean for business operations in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, spoke about support, describing the importance of having supervisors that support you in your jobs, as she did throughout her career, from the military to government to academia.
  • Terri Long, associate professor of plant and microbial biology, emphasized the importance of balance, with the observation that the type and size of a workplace can affect the amount of balance a woman can achieve and maintain, and to be aware of the differing levels of expectations that some jobs entail.
  • Jamila Simpson, assistant dean for academic programs, student diversity and engagement in the College of Sciences, expanded on the theme of how a work environment can impact faculty and staff, and to be mindful of the differences among various communities and how they form the conditions in which women can thrive and flourish.

If you are interested in attending next year’s luncheon, contact LaTosha Bradley in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Elizabeth Snively writes for the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity.