Wednesday Women’s Teas encourage discussion
Last Wednesday, Nov. 9, the Pugh Center hosted a Wednesday Women’s Tea, inviting all women in the College community. These teas occur once a month and are designed to encourage sisterhood among the College’s female community.
Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Pugh Center Tashia Bradley created the event with Student Government Association (SGA) Co-President Laura Maloney ’12. Both Bradley and Maloney serve on the ad-hoc committee for the development of a Gender and Sexual Diversity Program for next year. The Wednesday Women’s Teas began after one committee meeting when Bradley and Maloney came up with the idea to create a venue for women to discuss current topics. They decided to create a safe space where “women of this campus could gather to chat about issues on and off the Colby campus,” Maloney said. She added that “sweats and comfy clothes are encouraged!”
As noted on the Facebook event that Maloney created advertising this month’s tea, “Tea time has historically been a time for women to discuss current issues and ignite activism.” This monthly meeting creates a open forum for women to partake in discussion, free of a male presence and to provide women with a venue to talk about anything on their minds without the fear of being silenced. “We wanted to adopt this sense of ownership and implicit empowerment for our own teatime,” Maloney said.
However, men are allowed to join the conversation, and a few men were present at the last tea. Rather than create an environment of exclusivity, “the intention behind making women’s tea time is to foster female empowerment, and it in no way excludes anyone from the conversation,” Maloney said.
The meetings are not planned with a specific topic of discussion but instead are open to anything the women of the College have on their minds. To get started at the first tea on Oct. 9, attendees wrote down a few suggestions for conversation, which were then pulled from a hat and discussed. “[Topics] ranged from pressure between marriage, family and career ambitions to Occupy Wall Street,” Maloney said. The second meeting, last week, was focused on topics more pertinent to issues on campus such as sexual assault, what women can do to become informed about assault and how to educate others. The discussion also addressed the Feminist Alliance’s “Take Back the Body” campaign, discussing female body image.
The next Wednesday Women’s Tea will be held in December, date to be determined.