Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Exposing the wage gap: OUC students present on wage inequalities

OUC students Josh Reisinger and Stephanie Stevens teamed up to share information about the inequalities experienced by today’s workforce, specifically between men and women’s earnings.

According to the United States Department of Labor, women who worked full-time, year-round in 2014 earned on average 79 percent of men’s median annual earnings. Despite the change in the make-up of the labor force over recent decades, women are still earning less and minority women are disproportionately affected by the wage gap.

As a part of the Women’s and Gender Studies – Activism class, Reisinger and Stevens took to the halls to help educate and advocate for a change.

“Part of making a change is just knowing there’s an issue,” said Reisinger, a senior studying social work. “That’s something that this class has taught me. I didn’t know that this issue existed and now that I do, I’m aware of it and can make changes. I can educate my daughter. I can be a voice for people that don’t always have one.”

Through informative literature, a presentation board of statistics, one-on-one explanations of the wage gap data and collective activism through collecting sticky notes to send to Ohio legislators, the two reached out to any and everyone who would listen.

Stevens, a non-traditional student who has children and has been in the workforce, said it’s important that this issue is discussed because it’s not only a women’s issue but it affects families as well.

When asked what information she hoped people learned from the event, she noted, “more than anything, I hope people take away the knowledge that the gender wage gap does exist.”

Reisinger emphasized the importance of their project by stating, “It’s important for people to have access to this information because it’s not easily accessible to the average person - you have to do the digging to find the statistics on it. It’s important for women to know they have tools to use if or when they experience inequality at work.”

Stevens offered advice on how to get involved by researching information on the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau website as well as writing to local and state representatives to support fair pay legislation.

Monday, April 3, 2017

OUC student working to combat misinformation about Planned Parenthood through activism event

In continuation of the Women’s and Gender Studies – Activism class at Ohio University Chillicothe, Sarah Peters chose to turn her project, titled “The Other 97%” into an informative event focused on challenging falsehoods about Planned Parenthood.

Peters, a junior at OUC studying political science and women’s and gender studies, decided to correct the facts about common misconceptions surrounding the mission and services offered by Planned Parenthood.

“There’s a lot of misinformation going around that Planned Parenthood is an abortion clinic, when in reality only about three percent [of what they do] is abortion services,” she said. “The event is pretty much designed to highlight all the other services that get put onto the backboard because of the beliefs that get put out against them.”
She continued explaining that, “millions of people use their services for things such as STD screenings and treatments and pregnancy services. That’s why it’s important to keep this kind of thing around. It’s important that people know the actual facts as opposed to what’s being spread.”

Peters had worked as a volunteer at a clinic in Circleville, Ohio whose focus was to help deter anti-Planned Parenthood demonstrators from harassing those seeking medical care services at the clinic, which did not offer abortion services.

She described her passion behind this work as a reason for choosing to present and inform her fellow students on the topic.

“Most of the people that use Planned Parenthood are within the age range here at school -around 20 years-old - and because most people who use their services aren’t insured or are about to fall off their parent’s insurance, they’re not quite prepared,” she said. “Even if it’s not sex related, you can go and get your cholesterol or blood pressure checked – basic things – done there. These services are there to basically give people cost-effective health insurance.”   

Through her research, Peters was able to present information about additional assistance offered at Planned Parenthood that people may have been unaware of including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) support, assistance to those individuals who fall below the federal poverty guidelines, men’s health screenings and more.

Numerous displayed were erected outlining facts, figures, statistics and additional information on the varying services offered at Planned Parenthood. Students could come and go, gather information, or discuss questions with Peters or other advocates during the event.

Ultimately, she said, her goal was “helping to protect against getting rid of healthcare for some of America’s most vulnerable citizens.”

OUC Theater Program brings “Ghosts” to life in spring production

The Ohio University Chillicothe Theater program will present their spring production of “Ghosts” by Henrik Ibsen April 6 through 8 at 8 p.m. in Bennett Hall Auditorium.

A dinner theater event will take place on Friday, April 7 prior to the show, which includes dinner, admission to the show and after dinner remarks by Dr. Ken Breidenbaugh. Proceeds from the event contribute to the Jayne Stone Brown theater scholarship which is awarded to a theater student each year.

“Ghosts” by Henrik Ibsen, introduces the audience to Helen Alving, her son Oswald and their long-held family secrets that seem to continuously haunt them. The play, regarded as a canonical piece, is accepted as an important and influential work in Western culture.

“It’s a significant text for the actors to be able to deal with,” said Lance Mekeel, OUC theater program director. “I’m proud to be able to let them have the opportunity to work on such a canonical play and get exposure to this important work.”

This production will feature five prominent roles depicted by current and former OUC students who will portray Helen Alving, Oswald Alving, Regina Engstrand, Jacob Engstrand and Pastor Manders to bring this story to life.

Mekeel said he chose “Ghosts” to continue the theme of culture and memory that has celebrated the school’s 70th anniversary this academic year.

“This play gives the ability to reflect on one’s past and how we are bringing that past with us or denying it,” he said. “So, it’s a way of dealing more broadly with what we’ve been specifying in terms of the university, the campus and the region talking more broadly about that theme of how we deal with our past.”

The play has been in the works since the end of last year’s spring production. Students have been working on building the set, preparing for the production and rehearsing since the beginning of the semester.

The collective effort of the entire cast, crew and the volunteers help to bring the words to life, even if all the participating students are non-theater majors.

For these productions, Mekeel works from beginning to end to introduce all aspects of theater to his students.   

“I am a theater generalists, so I get great joy out of participating in all those roles,” he said. “Being able to share with these students the knowledge of not only, ‘here is a beat and here is an action you play on a stage as an actor,’ but to be able to say, ‘here’s how we build a flat for a wall’ or, ‘here’s how we focus a light on a stage.’  I take great joy being able to share that with them.”

A talk back with the cast will be held following the show’s closing on Friday night with guest moderator Dr. Tony Vinci, an assistant professor of English at OUC.

Tickets will be available at the door for $5 for general admission, $3 for faculty and staff and free for students.

For more information on the dinner theater event, contact Joyce Atwood at 740.710.7732.