Paula Johnson meets with area professors to discuss sexual harassment
On Tuesday, Sept. 18, President Paula Johnson spoke on a panel about the unfortunate prevalence of sexual harassment towards women in male-dominated STEM fields. Also present on the panel were sexual harassment activist and Brandeis professor Anita Hill and MIT professor and former Secretary of the US Air Force Sheila Widnall. The panel, which was opened by MIT president L. Rafael Reif, discussed the importance of curbing gender imbalances within STEM fields and thereby encouraging people of all genders to participate in scientific study and research. A study released in 2017 by the Pew Research Center revealed that close to 50 percent of women who hold careers in the aforementioned STEM fields claim sexual harassment is a problem within their workplace. President Johnson and Widnall served as co-chairs for the committee that conducted the study—the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine. The panel comes on the heels of the #MeToo movement and the recent events surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault allegations by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and other women.
“As an institution, Wellesley understands the importance of these issues. More than 50 percent of our faculty are women, and Wellesley’s culture is far more equitable than much of academia, but this does not make Wellesley immune,” wrote Paula Johnson in a Wellesley magazine column after she had participated on the committee.
Sope Aluko Comes to Wellesley
On Thursday, Sept. 20, actress Sope Aluko—who portrayed the Shaman in Marvel’s “Black Panther”—spoke to the Wellesley community about her experience as a person of color in Hollywood. More specifically, she touched on the ever-present tensions regarding race and gender within the entertainment industry. After her presentation, students were afforded the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the critically acclaimed performer. This free event held in the library lecture room was made possible with the support of a multiplicity of humanities-centric departments as well as on-campus student organizations.
Elena Creef Responds to Crazy Rich Asians
On WGBH’s radio show Under The Radar, women and gender studies professor Elena Creef spoke to the importance of the summer film “Crazy Rich Asians” for the Asian-American community. She described the romantic comedy, which was released on Aug. 15, as being a cultural moment for Asian American representation in the mainstream entertainment industry. The film has grossed over $117 million—more money than any other romantic comedy in nearly a decade—and is expected to be in the running for Best Picture this Oscar Season. However, Creef’s reviews were not entirely positive; she agreed with criticisms that “Crazy Rich Asians” represents only the experience of extremely affluent Asian-Americans and entirely ignores the service class.