Conference Celebrates 40 Years of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Penn

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Penn Women’s Center (PWC) and the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program (GSWS) celebrated their landmark 40th anniversary this year with a two-day conference featuring faculty and student panels on a range of topics, including the role of gender in art, literature, health care, the labor market, and religion.

Demie Kurz, Co-Director of GSWS and the Alice Paul Center for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality, says the celebration drew large audiences and allowed some of the founders and early activists to return and participate in panels.

“Conference attendees were riveted by stories of how challenging it was to gain acceptance of the idea that scholarship on women was both legitimate and important, and that women at Penn—faculty, staff, and students—should be treated equally in relation to their male counterparts,” Kurz says. “Our keynote speaker, Jessica Valenti, founder of the popular blog Feministing, fully engaged the audience with descriptions of how women have come a long way but still face many challenges in terms of pay equity, sexual violence, and LGBT rights.”