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Lecture with Dr Rowell from the University of Sussex

Posted on: 29/03/2021

Lecture with Dr Rowell from the University of Sussex

Fellow peers in our sociology class were privileged to have an online lecture and seminar with Dr Rowell

from the University of Sussex. The topic of feminism and its history was explained to us in detail. So,

what does feminism actually mean? Well, it’s the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic

equality to men. In simpler terms, it means eradicating gender inequality between men and women, something that is prevalent

throughout the lives of women, from having to earn £5000 less than men per year to only 6% of top executives being women.

So, now for a short history lesson on feminism. The progress made by the feminist movement can be broken down into 4

different waves. The First Wave of Feminism was from 1830- early 1900s and focused on basic human rights such as the right to

vote and with the aim to gain some political power, which was instrumental for women and set the foundation of the future.

Then came Second Wave Feminism, which was from the 1960s-1980s and broadened the debate regarding women, focused on

issues such as the workplace, women’s sexuality, the family, and their reproductive rights. Some issues regarding these topics

still exist to this day, however, the progress made was undeniable. Shortly after this time came Third Wave Feminism, which

spanned across the 90s into the early 2000s. This was when the feminist movement started gaining a fair bit of controversy due

to its focus on micro politics, criticism of earlier waves, female empowerment and claiming sexist stereotypes to be seen

positively. If anyone is interested in learning more about Third Wave feminism, we would recommend looking into Kimberlé

Crenshaw, who also covers topics such as Critical Race Theory. Then finally, we have Forth Wave Feminism and to our surprise,

we are living through it right now! This wave focuses more on ensuring women around the world are treated fairly, shedding

light on the abuse women have gone through (such as the MeToo movement) and being more LGBTQIA+ inclusive. And who

knows, maybe in the foreseeable future we will be learning about even more waves, as the gap between men and women hasn’t

been closed and we are far from it.

Furthermore, Dr Rowell’s presentation was extremely beneficial as it provided an insight into the University Experience. We

were able to hear from Dr Rowell about her own personal university experience, in that she initially took Economics as a degree

but did not feel as passionate about that course as she did about Sociology. This reassured us about our futures and the

uncertainty that many of us feel about choosing the right degree. Dr Rowell let us directly ask questions at the end of the

presentation about the Sociology course as well as university life overall. It was very beneficial for us to hear about her personal

experience surrounding education and what we could expect.

Moreover, during our meeting with Dr Rowell we had the opportunity to discuss how the learning takes place at the University

of Sussex. After touching on interesting subjects such as the advocacy of women´s rights and the gender pay gap, she presented

and explained to us what learning is like at university. Our guest went into detail about university learning and how it positively

affects students’ lives. She explained that students have to complete many independent tasks such as assignments or seminars,

which ensures they become responsible adults. She further explained that assignments are often essays or coursework on which

students can make progress and inform a judgement about their progress. Lastly, Dr Rowell gave an explanation of social life at

university, showing us that there are plenty of social opportunities both within the degree course and outside, such as clubs and

societies.

To conclude, in our sociology lesson we had a little sample what university would feel like if we chose to study Sociology.

Dr Rowell’s presentation explained that feminism “isn’t just a group of women that are angry at men, however, it is a little more

complex”. After this she explained the history behind feminism in 4 waves. Furthermore, our guest kindly shared with the class

her experience of university, with insights that helped us to form an idea of what university would be like.

Finally, Dr Rowell answered the questions that students had about feminism and university, helping them to further understand

their meanings.

Thank you to Dr Rowell for joining us.

By: Aran Doski, Stefan Duta, Sophie Karaiskos and Adriana Brosteanu—Year 12