First woman admitted to MU 150 years ago, Women's Leadership Conference celebrates

7 months 3 days 12 hours ago Saturday, March 17 2018 Mar 17, 2018 Saturday, March 17, 2018 3:52:00 PM CDT March 17, 2018 in News
By: Colleen Sloyan, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - The 2018 Women’s Leadership Conference took place Saturday celebrating the 150-year mark since the first woman was admitted to MU.

Executive Director Jennifer Fowler said the attendees were excited to learn that women had crossed that threshold where women have been inspired and empowered for 150 years on MU’s campus.

“We’ve made so much progress and even though we have so much farther to go, we’ve just made such significant strides as women,” said Fowler.

This year’s theme was ‘YOUnity’ meaning unity starts with you. All of the speakers invited to WLC spoke about empowerment, self-love and issues facing women today.

“We’re really focusing on empowering your fellow woman, oneness between women, solidarity between women, especially in a time of like super intense division in our country,” said Fowler.

The last speaker spoke about her passion for the reproductive rights movement. 20-year-old Nadya Okamoto said accessable period products for homeless women is an issue women face not only in the United States, but worldwide.

The youth activist founded a non-profit called PERIOD, the Menstrual Movement, at 16-years-old after her family lost their home. Okamoto said she found women around her using brown paper bags, socks, and other non-sanitary items in place of normal period products.

Okamoto said reproductive rights isn’t generation exclusive and all women can relate.

“We’re in this together,” said Okamoto.

WLC coincides with Women’s History Month.

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