‘Conscious Conversations’ to tackle issues facing working women

GVL / Luke Holmes - The Love Your Body Week: Mindul You presentation took place in the Womens Center in Kirkhof Monday, Feb. 22, 2016.

GVL / Luke Holmes – The “Love Your Body Week: Mindul You” presentation took place in the Women’s Center in Kirkhof Monday, Feb. 22, 2016.

Sarah Hollis

“Bad Moms,” “The Intern” and “Working Girl” are only a few examples of Hollywood’s contributions to the large, occasionally controversial topic of working women and, more specifically, working moms. 

Hoping to promote discussion on key issues surrounding working women and moms, and to foster a sense of community and oneness among the women at Grand Valley State University, the Women’s Commission at GVSU will be hosting “Conscious Conversations” on Tuesday, Nov. 28. The event will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Room 2204 of the Kirkhof Center.

“What we call it is a safe environment for diverse women from across campus to come together and to talk about various topics that are meaningful to them,” said Jennifer Palm, co-chair of the Women’s Commission and staff member at The Graduate School. “It’s a workshop format where Koleta Moore and I have a presentation, but we also do small-group discussion, large-group discussion and try to focus on creating conversation.”

The Conscious Conversations event will be focusing on the topics of “kin keeping,” the second shift and invisible work. 

“We talk about these topics and get the people who are present to really explore the role of kin keeping, second shift and invisible work in their lives,” said Moore, assistant dean of student engagement for Siedman graduate programs.

“The kin-keeping topic I developed because I was working full time here at the university; I was in my last semester of graduate school and having a 5-year-old son; I was just being pulled in a lot of different directions,” Palm said. “What I started to realize is some of the things I was paying attention to weren’t as significant as I was making them out to be. So perhaps it doesn’t matter that every evening there’s a home-cooked meal. Maybe sometimes it’s okay to take a shortcut.”

Also included in these topics is the traditional issue of work-life balance. This issue is often a source of discussion and of films about working women. 

“The purpose of this event is a discussion on ‘busy work’ and ‘worry work,’ and those are things that we don’t always recognize in our lives that are actually taking up our time and our energy,” Palm said.

Moore thinks addressing these issues is important for individuals who want to work on achieving some sort of balance.

“Once we start to look at work-life balance and stress management and such here, it can actually alter our behavior and our well-being so that traditionally women, but also other individuals on campus, can try to strive for some more balance in their lives,” Moore said. “I think we’ve really come to a place where we know that there isn’t a true balance and that really it’s about self-care and survival.”

Likewise, Moore thinks that discussing these issues is important so that women on campus can band together and support each other.

“I think the opportunity to share with each other and resonate with one another and support one another adds value that helps us take care of ourselves and one another,” she said.

Those interested in attending this event can register by visiting the Women’s Commission’s website at www.gvsu.edu/wcommission/conscious-conversations-3.htm.