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Women’s Groups Already Work To Support Each Other

By Jane Kim

To the editors:

I am writing in response to Lia C. Larson’s column on March 26, 2004 (“Division in the Details”). While the overall aim of most women’s groups at Harvard is to improve the experience of women, each organization approaches this objective from a different angle. And while it is important, as Larson states, to “unify voice,” it is also important to recognize that some groups are better suited to effectively approach women’s issues within certain arenas. For example, Women and Science in the field of science.

Additionally, women’s organizations at Harvard are making efforts to support one another and to communicate and collaborate. The Seneca, a women’s organization composed of Harvard women, works to strengthen the community of women and of women’s organizations at Harvard. Each year, we have a Women’s Leadership Event, where we invite each female leader of each women’s organization on campus. The purpose of this event is to facilitate networking for female leaders and their respective organizations such that they can best work together and support one another. The Seneca created a “Women’s Open List,” which is an email list of female leaders that works to increase communication between women’s organizations on campus. The Seneca also hosts a yearly Freshman Women’s Event, inviting all freshmen females to meet one another to build a community of women among first-years. The Seneca’s “Women In Power” Conference in November 2003 was publicized and open to the entire campus, as are all of our speaker events. In collaboration with the Athena Theatre Company and the Ann Radcliffe Trust, the Seneca hosted Pat Murphy, an Irish film-maker and writer for a campus-wide film screening and lecture in March of 2004.

All of these initiatives aim to create a forum for ideas, for sharing challenges, suggestions, thoughts and events. We are working to support dialogue and to support one another within our various focuses, missions and respective arenas. In the future, The Seneca hopes to continue to collaborate with groups where our missions coincide. For example, The Seneca is working with the Radcliffe Union of Students (RUS) to host a spring speaker event. I have seen women’s groups work together, such as: RUS with the Association of Black Harvard Women, Latinas Unidas, the Society of Arab Students, Asian-American communities and other individual female students, to foster discussion on “Race and Feminism.” In this way, women’s groups are in fact working together to support one another, and there is hope for strengthening the community of women at Harvard.


April 4, 2004

The writer is president of the Seneca.

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