Students and faculty are welcome to participate in an event aimed at unraveling the meaning behind women’s cultural dress.
The English as a Second Language International program has partnered with the political science department and the Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility to host a three-day event called “Hijab and Women’s Dress: A Cross-Cultural Experience and Conversation.”
The event begins tonight at Tate Page Hall, Room 110, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m., and will focus on the symbolism of clothing choices like the hijab for women in different countries, according to Dawn Winters, the director of ESLi at WKU.
“Our goal is to create an open, safe space for women to ask questions, discuss and analyze how our choices reflect our cultural beliefs,” said Winters.
Most of the event is open to everyone; however, Tuesday’s event will be for women only. On that day, Saudi women will be demonstrating how to wear the hijab.
“Tuesday is more private,” said Saundra Ardrey, the department head of political science. “We will be discussing how clothing has shaped women’s lives.”
On Wednesday and Thursday, women participating in the event can choose to wear a hijab publicly for a day.
Victoria Gordon, associate political science professor, has participated in the event before and thought it was a very positive experience.
“I received a lot of looks, comments and questions from students,” she said.
On Friday, both men and women are asked to attend a discussion that will reflect on the week of events in the faculty house.
“This is an opportunity to reflect on our choices, turn a mirror on ourselves to learn that we are not so unalike, and discuss openly our feelings about societal norms connected to what we wear,” said Winters.
Students can expect this event to open their eyes to different cultures and to the impact clothing has in different parts of the world, said Ardrey.
“The Muslim women sometimes think that we judge them,” said Ardrey. “It gives us a chance to come together in order to better understand.”
The event is sponsored by the Political Engagement Program and will benefit those who attend it, said Gordon.
“It’s a positive and educational experience that allows people to keep an open mind to other ideas and viewpoints,” she said.