Elevating the Conversation on Gender and Power

Can we be a society that values and respects all people equally?

While this is an ultimate goal for many, it can’t happen until we understand why and how equality isn’t happening now. That’s the purpose of the 2018 Faith, Reason and World Affairs Symposium, “Power Plays: Why Gender Matters,” Sept. 18-19. As the title indicates, the topic of gender can rarely be addressed without also evaluating power structures. Symposium co-chair Dr. Darcie Sell believes the symposium committee has put together an important group of thought leaders to begin to understand these connections.

“This year’s topic is timely considering the increased attention given to gender and power in the workforce, our personal relationships, and the political sphere,” Sell says. “The #MeToo movement, in particular, has stimulated a great deal of awareness and critical analysis of the interplay between gender and power.”

Three keynote speakers headline the event, each bringing their own insight on how this topic should be approached. Symposium co-chair Dr. David Creech says plenary speaker Rebecca Walker, an author and activist, will set the stage the first evening for us by diagnosing the problem. Wednesday morning begins with Jackson Katz, an educator, author and filmmaker, who will offer insight on “toxic masculinity,” or the forms of masculinity that are harmful, and Debra Fitzpatrick, the co-director for the Center on Women at the University of Minnesota, will give us a localized look at the topic later Wednesday morning.

“I am excited that the campus is having this difficult conversation,” Creech says. “It’s a huge topic. I am excited to find common language and diagnoses of the problem. The education will be valuable. That said, I know that much more than education and awareness is needed. We also need to find the will to make lasting and real change, starting here at Concordia.”

The symposium week also includes chapel speakers, the art exhibit “Women’s Work,” and breakout sessions. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Full Schedule