BY JUSTIN JANORSCHKE
As March is Women’s History Month, Missouri Western has become involved with promoting
the struggles and issues that have faced women both in the past and present. To kick off the event
calendar, Western’s chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha helped bring in Dr. Franke Wilmer to speak about
women’s issues in her speech entitled “A World of Difference: Living in a Woman’s Body.”
Dr. Shawna Harris, Associate Professor of Communication, attended Wilmer’s speech.
“I wanted to come because I wanted to see Franke as a political leader and as a feminist, an
activist and professor,” Harris said. “I wanted to see if she had any comments about the current political
climate even though I knew her talk was about women and identity.”
As a former member of the Montana state legislature, Dr. Wilmer was the perfect person to talk
about women’s issues in politics. She argued how the idea of patriarchy is hurting democracy. An
overarching theme, patriarchy is defined broadly in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “control by men
of a disproportionately large share of power.”
Madeline Marx, a senior studying Elementary Education, explained why it is important to realize
the problem of patriarchy.
“As much as the patriarchy may never go away, I think that [Wilmer’s] whole message was it
starts with the realization that there is a patriarchy and that there’s something that we can do about it
by educating ourselves,” Marx said.
Wilmer stressed that is it is not the idea that men must be overthrown, rather that power must
be shared equally among the people, men and women alike. Unless power is shared, people aren’t able
to be properly represented by their government.
“We know we’re different as men and women, but does that have to become the basis for
marginalizing people?” Wilmer said.
Overall, Wilmer’s speech gave the students and faculty at Western much to think about on the
topic of gender equality, a fitting beginning to Women’s History Month.