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Women’s activist inspires students

Contraceptives, family relations and equality were all important topics of conversation during the Soundings event on April 25. American attorney and women’s rights activist, Sandra Fluke took the stage a lecture concerning general issues rising in society.

Fluke became famous in February 2013 when Republicans wouldn’t let her voice her concerns about insurance covering birth control.

“Affordable care for contraceptives has nothing to do with government funded contraceptives but about insurance covering it,” said Fluke during her opening discussion about access to birth control options.

Before the Soundings event Fluke met with students in the Alumni Room of Huden to celebrate an induction ceremony into the Women and Gender Studies National Honor Society.

At the dinner, she revealed much about herself and her experiences.

She said that after growing up in a predominantly conservative household, college was a very eye opening experience, especially at Cornell University.  

“The first semester I took a women studies class for two reasons, one because I didn’t want class on Fridays and the second was to show them that feminism crap was old school,” said Fluke, half-jokingly.

She then said that this class and her experience opened a lot of doors for her in terms of activism. She held a bake sale to demonstrate the pay gap and sold penis and vagina chocolate lollipops- 75 cents for women and one dollar for men. The money was donated to a women’s economic program.

Besides her conservative household, many idols have given her the drive to get where she is today.

Names like Sondra Day O’Connor and Hillary Clinton came up. Fluke described them as a “mammoth figures” in contributing to her views.

When asked what super hero she would want to be she said “I have a red long sleeve t-shirt with the super logo on it, so I guess super woman.”

“Wonder Woman?” asked communication professor Sanjukta Ghosh.

“She doesn’t wear enough clothes for me,” replied Fluke with a serious grin.

After the dinner, Fluke made her appearance on the stage in the FAC in front of an auditorium filled with students, community members and professors.

CHANGE coordinator, Amy Bremel, introduced Fluke by saying, “she took a risk backed by passion-a passion for women’s rights.”  Her introduction was anything but misleading once Fluke’s stories and points were delivered.

Fluke spoke about violence against women, abortion rights, human trafficking, the recent marriage equality laws that have been passed and equal pay.

“On average a woman will make $300,000 to $400,000 less than a man in their lifetime,” said Fluke with utter conviction, “The first job out of college women immediately make less than men,” she said drilling the point even further into the brains of the female students sitting in the audience.

She mentioned the importance of U.S involvement in these issues.

“We have an opportunity to show leadership in these areas and create ripple effects around the world,” said Fluke, emphasizing the importance of United States involvement as a world leader in social rights.

Fluke said that feminism is more of an equal rights issue than a women’s issue and that by claiming the label of “feminists,” we publicly fight the stereotype.

“No one should be limited by their gender,” said Fluke.