Ms. Amber Robert
HINESBURG, VT — The Department of Labor states, “The proportion of women with college degrees in the labor force has almost quadrupled since 1970. More than 40 percent of women in the labor force had college degrees in 2016, compared with 11 percent in 1970.” On Wednesday, September 19th, Kathleen Gibbs announced her new role as advisor for the CVU Gender Equity Club.
Gibbs shares, “As a mother of a fifteen year old daughter, I clearly have a personal investment in this issue. I want her to have every opportunity in school, in life to grow into a confident, happy, self-reliant individual.
Ms. Gibbs, herself, has taken advantage of her opportunities. She went to the University of Vermont for a degree in English. In her junior year of college, she attended the University of Kent in Canterbury, England.
Gender equity is generally perceived as being a “women’s issue.” However, Ms. Gibbs has a goal to focus on the issues facing men such as, “How do young men learn to be good fathers? What is it like to be a young man growing up in the ME TOO era? How is education failing boys today?” Gibbs hopes that male students will want to educate themselves about the issues facing women today.
CVU students, like Kristin Arles have similar goals to Ms. Gibbs, “My goal for the club this year is to educate CVU on how gender inequalities are still a pressing issue worldwide, not just something of the past, and how deep-rooted these issues are.” In addition, Arles hopes to “lessen the tension in the air surrounding topics such as feminism.”
Arles also mentioned Gibb’s qualifications for the GEC advisor position. “I’m very excited about the new GEC adviser. I think Ms. Gibbs’ background as the Women and Lit teacher (and creator) will allow for great conversations to be had.”
Gibbs has been a teacher at CVU for 15 years and teaches a variety of English classes such as Major British Literature, Major American Literature, Women in Literature and Writing Prose. This year Gibbs will be taking over from Marie Eddy, the former club advisor.
Gibbs shared a story about when she first began her career. “When I was first applying for teaching jobs, I was asked a question about my marital status which is not a legal question. I was asked how I wanted my students to address me, and I said with respect. Then I was asked a follow-up question if I went by Miss or Mrs. I said Ms. which I still use. I wish I would have spoken up and called the interviewer on it. It was clear that my age and being single was a concern to him (an older man).”
Ms. Gibbs believes that the progression of women in schools and government is needed in order to achieve equality. According to the National Center for Education statistics, “Female students are as likely as male students to take advanced math and science courses, and are more likely to study a foreign language.” In order to progress in school, you must challenge yourself and work hard, regardless of gender.
Gibbs left off with a final thought, “To me equity means fairness of treatment for men and women (all people) according to their needs. Equity is the pathway to equality.”