Troy University’s Women’s Initiative discussed global issues concerning women during its latest meeting.
Women’s Initiative focuses on the rights and equality of women to “educate students, faculty and members of the community of all genders, races, creeds and political affiliations of the current issues facing women,” according to the Troy University website.
The Women’s Initiative holds meetings every Tuesday night in Malone 209, where the group discusses different issues concerning women.
In light of the recent International Women’s Day on March 8, the organization focused on global issues.
Abena Adaboh, sophomore biomedical sciences major from Kumasi, Ghana, and the group’s secretary, spoke about issues that women in American generally do not face — female sexual mutilation and honor killings.
“Culture doesn’t justify cruelty,” Adaboh said in regard to the cultural traditions and acceptance of these practices in other countries. “Culture evolves, and that has to evolve.”
Stephanie Shackelford, a senior graphic design major from Troy and president of the Women’s Initiative, said in order to change these issues around the world, “we have to change the cultural mindset because many of them see it as a rite of passage.”
The group’s vice president, Cat Rennhack, a junior human services and English double major from Dothan, spoke on child marriage and the loss of rights for the children who are forced into these marriages.
According to Rennhack, “child marriage takes away a child’s right to education and economic opportunity.”
“The right to consent to marriage is an international law,” Rennhack said. “The countries are supposed to be protecting these girls, but it is so common that they don’t.”
Courtney Brown, a junior global business marketing major from New Market, Alabama, led the discussion on sex trafficking, specifically in the United States.
“According to the International Labor Organization, there were 21 million sex slaves in 2011,” Brown said. “Two million are sold globally each year.
“This issue is heavily undermined. It should be in the headlines.”
Natalie Dixon, a senior human services major from Dothan, said her favorite experience with Women’s Initiative was a poll that the group conducted to see what students actually thought about gender roles and women’s rights.
“We have exploded with enthusiasm this year, I think,” Shackelford said.
Rennhack explained her interest in Women’s Initiative by giving her background of having a twin brother and seeing gender roles at a young age.
“Women’s Initiative has always been big for me,” Rennhack said. “I have always been big into feminism.”