The Importance of Women’s History from Dr. Alison Birch
The College of Business Diversity, Racial Equity, and Inclusion Group (DREIG) is asking UTA staff, faculty, and students what the Importance of Women’s History Month means to them personally. Victoria Davis, a College of Business DREIG (Diversity, Racial Equity, Inclusion Group) student associate interviews Dr. Alison Vania Hall Birch, Assistant Professor of Management.
Victoria: Why is Women's History Month important to you?
Dr. Birch: Acknowledging the contributions women have made to the world historically makes it a little easier to recognize the contributions women continue to make to the world every day. It makes it a little easier to recognize our equal competence and worth and our capacity to become part of the history of the generations to come.
Victoria: How can others be an ally for women and women in marginalized groups?
Dr. Birch: Believe in us when we share our experiences. Then ask more questions - not about us, but about yourself. Ask yourself what you can do to ensure the women around you have more positive and fewer negative experiences. Ask questions about the environment and the culture supporting disparate expectations for women and men. Ask yourself what you can do to challenge those. Ask questions about the systems that uphold the inequities. Ask yourself how you can dismantle them little by little. Then commit those fresh insights to hard and ongoing work.
Victoria: What are some challenges you face being a woman?
Dr. Birch: Candidly, I am blessed to be in a position where the women who came before me broke barriers and achieved despite some of the subtle (and overt) sexism directed their way. Because of them, I do not believe I face many gender-specific challenges in my life or in my immediate work environment. There are quite likely some people who find me non-compliant with the social rules of gender, but I let that be their problem rather than mine. I just conduct myself and live my life in ways that feel right for me. I am also aware that my gender is interpreted through the lens of several other identities that both afford me more leeway and subject me to higher scrutiny across different contexts. Still, I do not think about the gender-specific challenges of my life or work often. One relevant challenge could be the implications of being a working mom with a husband who travels for work. I'm sure life would be easier to navigate if my partner was a stay-at-home parent.
Victoria: Who do you feel has made a major impact for women?
Dr. Birch: Within my world, I have to highlight the impact of Kimberlé Crenshaw. She opened the conversation up to acknowledging and exploring the outcomes and experiences of MORE women, recognizing their similarities and their divergence.
Victoria: What is your favorite quote?
Dr. Birch: "You have to act as if it were radically possible to transform the world. And you have to do it all the time." - Angela Davis