Female empowerment has continued to grow since the women’s suffrage movement began and the debates of equality between men and women opened.

Elizabeth Onasanya is the president of the American Association of University Women and a biochemistry major from Colleyville.

“The American Association of University Women is a group of girls that gather together to celebrate women, celebrate their accomplishments and their triumphs,” said the junior. “We advance equity for women through advocacy of young girls and women in education.”

Onasanya intends to make women’s issues apparent to both men and women on the Texas Tech campus, she said.

“I’m hoping that we will be able to raise awareness about rape and education and philanthropy, which are our goals for this semester,” said Onasanya. “Through this organization, we are trying to change that nature and how people think.”

The adviser of the association is Charlotte Dunham, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work.

The AAUW is a national organization that does advocacy work on behalf of women and the community, and there is now a chapter in Lubbock and at Tech, said Dunham.

“We want to provide activities and services for women in the Tech community and Lubbock,” Dunham said. “I know they are planning on several activities, and they are going to partner with the ‘Vagina Monologues,’ and they are going to participate with Take Back the Night.”

The “Vagina Monologues” is a play produced nationwide that covers short performances ranging from love and romance to sexuality and rape, and it’s about women’s well being, she said.

Dunham has taught gender life classes and was once director of women’s studies at Tech.

“I have had a long interest in promoting women’s issues,” said Dunham. “It’s something professionally and personally important to me.”

Anita Sommers is a cellular molecular biology major and the historian of the association. She said she was attracted to the group because of their mission.

“The mission statement alone just drew me in: ‘AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research,’” said the senior from Austin. “We just want to have people belong to a community that breaks through educational and economical barriers so all women have a fair chance.”

Sommers also explained Take Back the Night’s mission.

“It is an international rally getting women, men and children together to raise awareness of violence against women, make the night safe for everyone,” said Sommers.

Yvonne Umeh is a biology major and acts as vice president of the AAUW.

The AAUW’s mission is to get out the message that women don’t have to fall back and be second best, said Umeh, a junior from Dallas.

“(We want people to know) that women can be just as good as men, to not discriminate just because we’re women, and we can be as powerful as anyone else can be,” she said.

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