Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

Award-winning, student-run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield

The Observer

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Barbie for President, promoting female leaders and voters

“If you can dream it, you can be it! You can ‘B’ president.”
This is the message of the Barbie for President in partnership with the White House Project, campaigns.

The UIS Women’s Center and the Women’s Issues Caucus Club hosted an event celebrating and promoting this message.

The event was a part of the Women’s Center’s twice a month “TGIF” series. Formally known as “Friday Girl Talk”, the TGIF series works to bring students together, and learn something new in the process.

“Ideally people come here and do the activities and make a friend, or learn something new,” said Women’s Center Director Lynn Otterson. “So even though the name has changed from ‘Friday Girl Talk’, we still want people to come in and connect to another person, whether it’s us, or another student.”

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The Barbie for President and the White House Project campaigns are being considered a practical option for the representation of women in the absence of a female candidate this election period. During the event, the film Iron Jawed Angels was played. The film is the true story of American women winning the right to vote.

Another focus of the event was recognizing female world leaders. Attendees were offered the opportunity to take a quiz to test their knowledge of ten of the world’s female leaders, with the chance to win one of three Barbie for President dolls.

“[It is important to] know your story, not only your story as a woman, which I think this game is about and this Barbie is about, but know the world you live in and the impact people in office are going to have on you,” said Otterson.

Just as Barbie is recognizing women leaders, the Women’s Center is emphasizing that women and students can be leaders in their own communities, as well as on the UIS campus. Otterson said that it is important to look for where there are gaps in leadership, and find ways to contribute.

The organization is hosting their annual Take Back the Night event, in partnership with UIS Residence Life, and Lincoln Land Community College in the spring of 2013. All students are welcome to attend the event and act as leaders in the local and UIS communities.

“Look for new and innovative ways to be leader. Sometimes the ways to be leaders aren’t necessarily obvious,” said Otterson.

In addition to recognizing leaders, Barbie for President also emphasizes the importance of women acting on their right to vote, as well as being able to stand on their own two feet.

“To imagine a woman as the president, you have to first see yourself as a citizen and exercise that in important ways [like voting],” said Otterson.

Barbie for President is the first Barbie to stand on her own – literally, which is important in helping women to find their strength said Co-President Olivia Sykes of the Women’s Issues Caucus Club.

“I think it’s important that women know that they are just as prepared as men and just as equal as men. I think a lot of women don’t really see themselves as having the ability to compete the way a man can, especially in our society,” said Sykes. “It’s important that women know their strength and their power.”

Graduate Student Vineela Alluri explained that this is her first time being in the United States during an election year, and it is a vastly different experience. In her home country of India, matters of voting are often kept private said Alluri.

“It’s really interesting the way that at UIS the Women’s Center is bringing awareness to the students here,” said Alluri. “It really increases [our] thinking – I mean, this [event] increased my broad thinking a lot.”

The Women’s Center invites students who could not attend the event to stop by throughout the week and try their skill at the Women Leader’s Quiz and learn more about emerging leaders in the world and in the UIS community.

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