WRC Founds Group Aimed At AHANA Females
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
As Women’s Resource Center (WRC) staff members for the past three years, Keun Young Bae, A&S ’13, and Nicole Laniado, CSOM ’13, understand well the so-called “glass ceiling” that women face with regard to advancement in education and the workplace. Both also recognize the prejudices that come with being a member of Boston College’s AHANA community. “For women of different ethnicities and cultures,” Laniado said, “it’s a double glass ceiling.”
Even on a campus as diverse as BC’s, the two felt that these issues were not being addressed. In previous years, the WRC sponsored a program known as SIESTA, which held programs aimed at female AHANA students. Still, the school lacked a true forum for these students.
“We wanted to take that a different route, and actually create a space where people can discuss these issues rather than just programming,” Bae said.
She and Laniado became the founding members of Mosaic, a discussion group through the WRC whose name suggests the diversity of both its goals and its membership. “Mosaic strives to talk about issues that intersect with gender, race, and culture,” Bae said.
Members recognize the potentially controversial nature of these discussions. Race and gender remain thorny topics for any discussion, and it is for this reason that Laniado and Bae believe the group is so necessary. Noting the popularity of BC Ignites, which prompted discussion of race and identity at BC, they consider Mosaic an ideal follow-up. As Laniado explains, “Mosaic is a resource for BC students, a safe space where they can continue these conversations.”
In keeping with the comfortable nature of these discussions, Bae and Laniado do not restrict the topics at hand.
“We don’t consider ourselves teachers, in the sense that we’re teaching you about these issues,” Bae said.
Rather, they welcome members to bring their own ideas and topics to the table. The open-ended nature of the group discussion means that it often extends beyond current events to what members encounter on a daily basis. “We focus on pressures that women of color deal with on the campus and in general life,” Bae said.
Mosaic’s definition of “women of color” remains open to welcome a wide array of ethnic and cultural diversity.
“Diversity applies to every single person,” Laniado said, and therefore takes into account every member of Mosaic, whether of an ethnic background considered a minority in popular culture or not.
Although women across the world face challenges in their attempts to break through the glass ceiling, the nature of those challenges varies by regional and cultural tradition.
“We’ve had a lot of different ethnicities discuss the racial implications [of feminism] in their country,” Laniado said. “Our goal is really to open the discourse between cultures. We want to challenge these perceptions.”
In promoting such discourse, Mosaic aims to hasten the advancement of women of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds, not just at BC but across the world.
“We recognize that it can be difficult to be proud of who you are if there isn’t anyone like you or anyone who’s had your experiences in the media or in your life,” Bae said. “We aim to be that for people.”
The group meets twice a month on Wednesday evenings, and those interested in participating in a Mosaic discussion group should contact the WRC at firstname.lastname@example.org.