(Elizabeth Bastian / MJ)
(Elizabeth Bastian / MJ)

BY ELIZABETH BASTIAN, Perspectives Editor

On Thursday, April 12, U of M Dearborn College Democrats hosted I Am Not A Thing Day in Borg Warner Auditorium.

The event was an informal panel with six women in various professional fields who discussed topics such as female stereotypes in the media, balancing work and family life, and male perceptions of powerful women in the workplace.

The six panel members were Clinical Pharmacist Vanita Panjwani, Clinical Pharmacist Cynthia Harris-Boyer, Clinical Pharmacist Jennifer Clement, Concert Violinist Katherine Thompson, Internal Auditor for the Tigers/CPA Candice Lentz, and Jennifer Wenzel, a Firefighter at the Dearborn Fire Department.

Junior Gabrielle Boyer planned the event because she “saw the movie Miss Conception during Women’s History Month and I realized how much of what they were saying was true.

And when you’re a woman, especially today, we don’t know what to expect at the workplace. We’re told reach for the stars by our parents, but popular culture is telling us not to.”

All of the panelists admitted that they had no role models or relatable characters on television or in the media as far as their careers are concerned.

“As a firefighter woman, you don’t see that (in the media),” said Wenzel. “You don’t even think about it.”

Harris-Boyer pointed out that “women need to spend more time planning out their lives than men,” as having children has to be taken into account more so on the female’s part.

Panjwani agreed, but added that being a working mother broadens her perspective and sets a good example for her children.

“If you find the right job, it’s easy to balance,” Panjwani said.

All the participants agreed that women need to start supporting other women in the professional sector. The competition and the cattiness accomplishes nothing in the workplace, and does not advance the female sex as a whole.

Lastly, the six women discussed how the job sector needs to change in order to allow more women to enter.

Wenzel argued that women often copy how men perform a job instead of figuring out the best way for them to do it.

“We’re not changing the culture of these jobs,” Wenzel said. “We’re working like men, but as women.”

Boyer hopes to host the event again sometime within the next school year, preferably earlier in the semester and with more guests.