Panelists will discuss feminism, religion tonight

Amy Pint

Feminism and religion are not usually mentioned together, but a panel discussion tonight will show how the two relate.

The discussion will be held at 7 tonight in the Oak Room of the Memorial Union.

“I think religion is important to a lot of people,” said Sarah Shimek, public relations chairwoman of Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, which sponsored the discussion. “A lot of people think if you’re a feminist, then you’re not religious.”

Shimek, sophomore in animal ecology, said this issue is important to discuss openly.

“It’s really important to have spirituality and religion in our lives,” she said. “I am really spiritual and have struggled a lot . with the treatment of women.”

Abby Hansen, junior in women’s studies and president of FMLA, also said students will learn a lot from the discussion.

“We do have a lot of Christian women, and I do think that since our campus does have a large number of Christians, I think this will be particularly interesting,” she said.

Five speakers are scheduled for tonight, Shimek said. They include Dawn Work, a pagan woman from Des Moines; Nikki Bado-Fralick, temporary assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies; Mary Ricke, director of religious education at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 2210 Lincoln Way; Mary Jane Oakland, deacon at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Marshalltown; and Kay Scott, associate pastor of First Christian Church, 611 Clark Ave.

Hansen said the speakers were chosen because they were known to have leadership positions in their religions and were also open to the idea of feminism in religion.

“We searched for a diverse group of women, and unfortunately, we weren’t able to find representatives of the diversity of religions,” she said.