Faculty members Dr. Kalyani Thurairajah, Dr. Joanne Minaker, Dr. Amanda Nelund and Dr. Sarah Shulist are among the executive members of Academic Women and Gender Equity Network.

Advocating for gender equity in the academy

March 11, 2019 | Society, Campus Life
MacEwan University’s newly renamed Academic Women and Gender Equity Network (AWGEN) has an expanded mission and a new home within the university.

“Adding ‘gender equity’ to our name clearly signals to the MacEwan community that we’re not just thinking about gender in terms of women’s inequality and inequity,” says Dr. Amanda Nelund, assistant professor, Sociology, and chair of AWGEN. “Non-binary and genderqueer faculty, staff, students and administrators also suffer from gender inequity and inequality in post-secondary settings.”

AWGEN’s new terms of reference open up membership to all women, genderqueer and non-binary academics at MacEwan, providing them with access to support, resources and programming in all aspects of academic life: teaching, learning and service. The network is also now positioned within the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic.

“The growing membership of the Academic Women and Gender Equity Network demonstrates how our MacEwan colleagues have been successful in forging connections across this community,” says Dr. Craig Monk, provost and vice-president, Academic. “But communities also need some practical supports within a university, and it has been my privilege to house this group within the administrative services of the provost’s office in order to demonstrate our commitment to its aims and to help ensure that it continues to grow and to thrive in the years to come.”

The combination of changes, Amanda explains, positions the network to advocate for the cultural and structural changes that will allow for gender equity – at MacEwan, in the academy at large and in the community.

Reaching out beyond the academy


“AWGEN takes very seriously the fact that MacEwan is a downtown university,” says Amanda. It’s why the network’s members also work to address gender inequality extends beyond campus.

One example, is the network’s annual fundraiser for Suit Yourself, a charity that distributes business attire free of charge to women searching for employment. Each year, AWGEN members collect donations of gently used business clothing (Amanda is pictured with a small sample here) and then host a clothing sale on campus – this year’s sale is on Thursday, March 14. Everyone is welcome, and all proceeds and unsold clothing go to Suit Yourself. 

Adventures in Intersectionality

AWGEN is re-launch the network under its new name and mission with Adventures in Intersectionality on March 15 at 3:30 p.m. in CN Theatre. The panel discussion will look at the intersectional inequalities that exist in post-secondary educational institutions, and discuss research, issues, questions, and strategies for change. Everyone is welcome.

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