Esteemed author, feminist speaks
Helen Lee / Photo editor
Cynthia Enloe, the foremost feminist scholar of international relations, challenged Linfield students to question “normalcy” and raise gender equality issues during her lecture on Feb. 13.
The research professor for Clark University’s International Development, Community, and Environment department examined gender and feminist ramifications of the America’s war in Iraq.
Enloe discussed topics ranging from U.S. military foreign base prostitute policies to affected literacy rates for women in Iraq since American military action in 2003 to how economic sanctions affect men versus women.
Her primary focus was to educate students on the plight of Iraqi women as a result of U.S. presence, and to emphasize the importance of simply being aware of their efforts toward gender quality.
“To create a women’s movement in Iraq is harder now than it even was in 1990. What is so amazing to me is that Iraqi women have organized, that the Iraqi women have created this network of 80 different Iraqi women’s groups across all these sectarian and ethnic lines, and that Iraqi women are still at it,” Enloe said.
“They are still at it, and advocating for domestic violence units within the police and laws against honor killings,” Enloe said.
Enloe’s approach to the ways in which U.S. citizens can help Iraqi women are, in her words, “humble.”
She advocates that part of the reason the Iraqi women are so revolutionary is that they do not accept donations from foreign nations or entities. Enloe stated that due to this, the most that anyone else can do for their cause is to recognize it, both on the individual level and in the media.
In a more general sense of gender equality, Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science Dawn Nowacki commented on what can be done to address the issue.
“The most important gender issue is to realize that there is a gender issue,” Nowacki said.
The talk was a highlight of Gender Equity Week, and was sponsored by both the Program for Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement and the Students Advocating for Gender Equality club.
Senior, co-founder of SAGE, and student ambassador for PLACE Breanna Ribeiro was instrumental in bringing Enloe to campus.
Ribeiro spoke on gender issues at Linfield, stating that gender issues affect everyone.
“On an individual level, even though we don’t know it, there are inequities that we all face and stereotypes on gender that we play out. These can affect us, whether it be as a woman, we don’t feel the confidence to speak up in class, or as a man, another man might degrade them by calling them a girl, which is meant as a bad thing,” Ribeiro said.
Enloe also spoke at a Pizza & Politics event earlier on Feb. 13, urging students to ask questions regarding gender ratios at Linfield.
According to “Forbes,” Linfield has a male enrollment rate of 39 percent and a female enrollment ratio of 61 percent. “Forbes” also stated that a 2012-2013 data collection of graduation rate by gender at Linfield showed that the male graduation rate is 67 percent and the female graduation rate is 78 percent.
Linfield’s Lindex lists 73 male faculty members and 55 female faculty members.
Enloe’s achievements include Fulbright grants to Malaysia and Guyana, teaching in Asia, Europe, and the U.S, and the Susan Strange Award from the International Studies Association in 2007.
She has also written 13 books, including “Nimo’s War, Emma’s War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War.”
She received her bachelor’s degree from Connecticut College and her master’s and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Enloe has impressed a vital curiosity upon those who attended her lecture—ask the gender question about everything, and ask “why” about all notions that appear “normal.”
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