Category Archives: Sisterhood


“I believe you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, all the time.  So do it.”

Sadie knows what’s up!  We are all connected – more so now through digital media than ever before.  And through this connection, we have an obligation to support each other.  Lately, I’ve watched a lot of videos with little girls offering positive affirmations for themselves and others, going on about their personal goals in life, and basically celebrating the talents they have.  I think we ought to keep doing this into adulthood.

As the semester closes out, I wish all of you well.  I want you to know that you are fondly thought of as you finish up assignments, prepare to take final exams, and get ready to move on to whatever adventure awaits you this summer. Don’t forget that the Sloss House makes a great place to study and relax between tests!  And we have a kitchen and free coffee!

Penny, our Director here, has us go around at each staff meeting and share a “Smile Sighting”.  A Smile Sighting is something you’ve witnessed in the previous week that made you smile.  We share our sightings with one another as a way to celebrate small things in life.  I think Sadie here is my smile sighting for this week.

As my friends and I start (and continue) job searching, we got into the yucky habit of wallowing in self-doubt and worry.  So we began a new tradition.  Each week, we have to share something we are proud of.  It can be something we did in class, at home, or at work.  But every week, we have to find something to be proud of and share it with someone else.

I guess as things wind up to wind down, I just wanted to leave you with the notion that we should all be doing something we’re good at – something we like doing, we need to find the small things in life to smile about, and we have to be proud of ourselves.  Because certainly, we are talented people.

Liz Steinborn, Graduate Assistant at the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center,


Sweet Tweet

Yes, I tweet. I use twitter. I’m a tweeter, twitterer… whatever you want to call it. While a lot of people don’t understand what twitter and I see in each other, I’m here to tell you about a pretty cool twitter community to support women. #WLSalt was designed to support, lift, encourage, and promote women leaders.

One of the founders of this community, @tbump, said in an email to the other founding sisters “I send at least 1 DM (direct message) a day to someone who has publicly diminished herself.  I’m looking to help build their self esteem, self respect, and encourage them to take their place at the table with confidence and the support of women like us. We can create a network of women who value what matters and will enthusiastically help each other achieve, score the best opportunities and see this world as their oyster. Are you in?”

Women and men are encouraged to use #WLSalt for tweets that:
*WL: Women Lead
* Support: Provide support, connections, and resources for leadership, academic, and career opportunities
* Affirm: Highlight the success of women as leaders at all levels
* Lift: Lift up the voices that may be quieted in other venues
* Transform: Facilitate the continued success of woman in higher education

#WLSalt has expanded to having its own twitter handle (@sawomenlead) and blog, Just reading through some of the blog posts today have inspired me and challenged me.  And just knowing about this hashtag makes me think more intentionally about my interactions with women.  For example last week I had the chance to sit down with an amazing woman on campus, someone who is getting a dual PhD, has a family, does volunteer work and more.  So having the chance to just sit with her for 20 minutes was a pretty big deal.  I feel like these days if I have a few extra minutes, I jump at the chance to answer a few emails or catch up on facebook. But having real-life interactions with people are huge!  So after our chat, I was inspired and sent a simple tweet. “Glad I took 20 minutes to sit down and chat with a wonderful woman on campus. She balances joint PhD program, family, volunteering #WLSalt.”  It’s meant as a reminder that there are wonderful women out there and that it is valuable to take time to talk with them.  Having the #WLSalt hashtag sends little reminders every day that I am important and I can get through the day.

Be sure to check out #WLSalt on twitter today (April 12) – you’ll see a flood of support from people across the spectrum supporting equal pay for women!

Want to engage on twitter? I’m @mandajeanne.
Amanda Martin is doing a practicum at the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center. She can be reached at or on twitter at @mandajeanne.

Celebrating Women

Welcome to March: Women’s History Month.  I was trying to find some profound youtube video about the impact women have made in history, but youtube left me wanting.  So I started looking around for videos that inspired me as a woman.  And because of the political climate’s hostility toward women, I wanted something to bridge the gap.

What I found was a wonderful interview with former Secretary of State Madeline Albright.  She’s witty and brilliant (and sassy, which immediately charmed me to her).  She has an amazing outlook on being a woman in the United States.  Take a look at what she has to say about her experience as Secretary of State as well as her outlook on the importance of women globally.

We often think of women’s history in the past-tense (as history is often found in the past…), but I challenge you to find a woman this week who is making history today.  Maybe you’ll find her in the mirror.  ~Liz (

If you haven’t visited, you are missing out.  TED, as their website states:

a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.

They videotape their conference presenters and share it in videos on their site.  The idea of sharing knowledge in this way is powerful, and I highly recommend spending some time getting to know their website.

the girl effect

Because I cannot bear to talk about the many incidents of backlash women are experiencing in regards to health care and rights, I wanted to share something positive and powerful with you today.

The Girl Effect should empower you – share this with a girl you know who can change the world.  So share this with any girl: because all of them can change the world!

The Vagina Monologues!

Well friends, we are officially in V-Season!  The Iowa State ({2011}) V-Day campaign to end violence against women is in full swing.  For those of you unfamiliar with The Vagina Monologues, do we have a treat for you!

Here’s a sneak peak from the playwright herself, Eve Ensler:

Since 1996, The Vagina Monologues have been shocking and delighting audiences across the globe.  The Vagina Warriors at Iowa State are proud to perform this year’s show.  For the past month, we have been talking about vaginas, creating paper vaginas, selling chocolate vaginas, and rehearsing monologues about vaginas.  Through the sisterhood of the cast, we are excited to bring you a show that not only promises to entertain, but raises awareness about the very serious topic of domestic and sexual violence.

The mission of the V-Day campaign is at the heart of each Vagina Warriors:

V-Day is an organized response against violence toward women.

V-Day is a vision: We see a world where women live safely and freely.

V-Day is a demand: Rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery must end now.

V-Day is a spirit: We believe women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities.

V-Day is a catalyst: By raising money and consciousness, it will unify and strengthen existing anti-violence efforts. Triggering far-reaching awareness, it will lay the groundwork for new educational, protective, and legislative endeavors throughout the world.

V-Day is a process: We will work as long as it takes. We will not stop until the violence stops.

V-Day is a day. We proclaim Valentine’s Day as V-Day, to celebrate women and end the violence.

V-Day is a fierce, wild, unstoppable movement and community. Join us!

Performances in the Memorial Union Maintenance Shop:

Thursday, February 10th @ 5:30pm – Join us for a brief discussion after the show to learn how you can work to end violence throughout the year.

Friday, February 11th @ 6:00pm – We are proud to provide American Sign Language interpreters at this show!

Friday, February 11th @ 9:00pm

Tickets are on sale at the M-Shop.  Students pay $12 with an ISU i.d. and community members pay $15.  Chocolate vaginas will be available for purchase at all shows.  Visit us in the West Student Office Space booth on Monday, January 31; Tuesday, February 1; Thursday, February 10; and Friday, February 11 to purchase “I Respect Vaginas” t-shirts and chocolates.

All proceeds from the show go to benefit the Ames Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS).  Last year we were able to raise $5,000.  Help us surpass that this year!

Questions? Contact Liz Steinborn at the MSWC:

Mean Girls

Remember the movie Mean Girls?   The popular movie that came out several years ago starring Lindsay Lohan where a group of “cool” girls use their power to terrorize other girls in the high school?  Believe it or not these types of things still happen in college, even graduate school, even the office! Maybe not to the same extent, but have you ever stopped to think how powerful words are? “What is she wearing??” “Can you believe she said that?” etc. etc. But what good does talking behind someone’s back do? Does it make you feel better about yourself? Certainly it makes it easier to continue using damaging language.

I was a facilitator at the Women’s Leadership Retreat held this weekend for women at ISU, and was struck by a challenge one of the speakers put forth to us.  She asked us to “practice sisterhood daily.” To do this, she directed, “Don’t say those things out loud.” The behind-the-back comments, the power-trip remarks.  For one week, don’t say them out loud. After that, don’t even think them, she says.  The less we say them and the less we think them, the less that type of behavior and language will even be an option for us.

We are women, and we need to support each other.  Well, we need to support each other regardless of gender, but women have the tendency to be especially cruel to each other.  I don’t know what it is – competition, jealousy, the need to feel in control, what, but it needs to stop.  If someone makes a hurtful comment about someone else to you – what do you do? Go along with it and laugh? Say nothing? Why not try one of these tactics – ask the person to clarify what they mean. If they have to repeat it, they may realize how silly they sound.  If you’re too uncomfortable calling the person out on their comment, at least change the subject so they realize you’re not going to tolerate that type of conversation.

Finally, let’s try to communicate with each other more.  If you really need to say something to someone, have an adult conversation with them. Don’t just talk about it behind their back – that is not going to strengthen any relationship or be productive to anyone.  I know this is something I am trying hard to work on! It’s not easy, but we NEED to make an effort.  The more people are able to be honest with each other and communicate with each other, the stronger our friendships, offices, classes, will be.  No, you don’t have to like everyone, but you will have to work with people you don’t like for the rest of your life.  Let’s support each other!

Amanda Martin is doing a practicum in the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center this spring. She can be reached at

%d bloggers like this: