International Women’s Day event examines ways of increasing gender equity and inclusion

March 09, 2023

Headshot of Daymyen Layne

On International Women’s Day, an interactive conversation with Quinnipiac students and faculty unpacked root causes of societal hurdles women continue to face, and actions and concepts to help promote gender equity and inclusion in America, and on Quinnipiac’s campuses.

Daymyen Layne, director of multicultural education and training, facilitated the Department of Cultural and Global Engagement’s (DCGE) “Inclusive Conversation: Gender Equity and Inclusion” in the Carl Hansen Student Center on Wednesday.

The discussion explored gender inequality and equity stances, viewed the current gender equity landscape and systems at play, and reflected on critical ways to move against gender inequity and structures currently in place.

“If we have the knowledge behind these sorts of systems, you can start to actively work against them. And further than that, we can begin to put systems in place for the next person that comes in,” said Layne.

The country’s yawning wage gap between men and women is a predominant systemic issue. From 1950 to 1980, for every dollar paid to a man, a woman earned 60%.  In 2023, a woman earns 73% of every dollar a man earns for the same position.

“We have to ask ourselves, ‘Why?’” said Layne.

The conversation turned to causes, and led to the determination that critical access to information which can educate women on the salary negotiation process will empower them to advocate for equal pay, and can help to affect change.

Another outcome of the day’s conversation was the recognition that unconscious bias fuels systems of patriarchy and oppression impacting women and non-binary people. In western and American culture, as well as many other cultures worldwide, populations are steeped in unconscious associations created by social norms, values, beliefs and customs. Consciously deciding to consider the fairness or accuracy of such associations, and further, challenging others to do the same; can begin to affect change to help bring about gender inclusivity and equity.

At Quinnipiac, the current student population identifies as 62.9% female gender and 37.1% male gender, while faculty is 54.8% female and 45.2% male. 

“I think these numbers are going to be trending in this way for the next decades,” said Layne. “So, I think, with conversations like this, it’s important for our institutions to talk about gender equity. If these are going to be our numbers, we have to make sure our staffs are prepared to support the folks on campus. We have to make sure our faculty are prepared to have some of these conversations.”

Noting the day’s talk drew a greater percentage of female gender participants than male, Layne emphasized, “…this is not a women’s issue.”

“We do need men at the table, as well,” said Layne. “This room is heavily dominated by women right now, and that, inherently, is part of the issue. We need more men to show up for conversations like these.”

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