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People gather to listen to different speakers present research regarding gender equality and sexual assault on Friday, April 26, 2019, in the Student Union Building Matador Room.

To promote the presentation and community of women in the research field, Texas Tech’s Women’s and Gender Studies hosted its 35th Annual Conference for the Advancement of Women.

During the conference, which took place from Thursday, April 25, through Saturday, April 27, in the upper-level of the Student Union Building, different speakers presented their research.

Jamia Wilson, executive director and publisher of Feminist Press at the City University of New York, discussed the topic of “How to Advance Social Justice Through Storytelling” at 10 a.m. in the SUB Matador Room on April 26, and Mily Treviño-Sauceda, executive director and co-founder of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, discussed her organization working to promote farming women at 1 p.m. in the Matador Room on April 26.

Treviño-Sauceda also discussed the issue of women in field work experiencing sexual assault.

For people who work in agriculture, Treviño-Sauceda said they are not included in the Fair Labor Standards Act. This means people in agriculture do not have protection for themselves, which is why Alianza de Campesina finds ways to protect these women in cases of assault.

Along with the organization’s goal, Treviño-Sauceda said the Alianza de Campesina provides women in farm work the opportunity to speak to other women who have also gone through similar experiences.

People can support farm-working women by promoting awareness and donating to the organization, she said. Universities can do their part through conducting studies.

The conference also included over 80 guest speakers to present their research. These guest speakers came from various institutions including Tech, Angelo State University, Austin College, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Sarah Lawrence College, Texas A&M University, the University of California and the University of Texas.  

“Studies help us become more conscious,” Treviño-Sauceda said. “We have gotten so much more information and support through many research studies students have conducted.”

Christen Damron, a freshman pre-speech major from Tulia, said she found the event empowering to women from various backgrounds.

“I really enjoyed learning about the empowerment of women, especially in the field of research,” Damron said. “It was inspiring to see so many self-driven women supporting each other and coming together to grow and raise awareness to so many different issues we face today.”

Morgan Allen, senior psychology major and Women’s and Gender Studies ambassador, said when the conference first started, women were not given a platform to present their research.

The conference started to provide women the opportunity to discuss their studies, and now, it has morphed into an event that highlights research on women’s issues, social justice issues and other pressing matters in society, Allen said. The conference allows students to gain exposure in areas apart from their coursework.

“The conference gives me the opportunity to build a community with people that I can meet to help me with organizing and other work through the program,” Allen said.

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