Women In Action conference empowers women for attentiveness, self care


Photo courtesy of Calvin College Student Senate

Women In Action, a campus conference which occurred last Wednesday, November 28, brought in several speakers to discuss women’s health in a move to empower women at Calvin. The event, organized by senior Selvi Bunce, was the first of its kind at Calvin and covered a range of aspects regarding health.

In a talk about spiritual health, Sarah Visser, vice president for student life, urged the women of the audience to pay more attention and become more intentional in daily life as a woman. The daily striving of life can become a self-forgetful event, she said, and she reminded the audience not to “get caught up in the process that you miss God’s presence.” Visser explained that we ought to intentionally put time in our agendas to enjoy companionship with God.

Another talk focused on physical and sexual health. The speaker was Nisha McKenzie, a certified sexuality counselor and one of the founders of the Center for Women’s Sexual Health in Grand Rapids. McKenzie emphasized a focus on self care instead of always focusing on everyone else all the time, which is easy to do as a mother or wife. She also explained some of the disparities when it comes to women and men concerning sexual health, discussing topics ranging from body appreciation to the orgasm gap between men and women.

A presentation about the mental health of women was then given by Keionna Roseman, a public health practitioner. She encouraged young women to have more of an intentional mindfulness, wherein greater attention is given to the world around them. This can help counter the feeling that life may seem to be just going through the motions, which can be detrimental to people’s mental health. She also advised people to continue to learn new things and branch out in discovery. Roseman, who sees many patients, asserted that what is most important is to give yourself permission to feel everything that happens in the moment and not just glide past them without dealing with those emotions.

The last presenter was state representative Winnie Brinks, a Calvin alumna. Originally asked to give a talk about her story and how she has been able to balance her work with other aspects of her life, Brinks decided to take a different approach. She expressed how it is extremely hard for her to balance her life, and as a result came to the conclusion that “balance is overrated,” as it can cause people to focus on a more idealistic reality instead of the one that they are living. Continuing with the themes of self care and taking in life in the moment, Brinks spoke of how, because of the life she has chosen to pursue, there will be hard times and sacrifices she will have to make. One of the most challenging parts of her job, according to Brinks, are the many people in office who care more about winning elections that serving the people, and this has hindered many of the things she has strived to do in office. However, she has learned to “embrace the intensity of the season [she’s] been blessed with,” which has allowed her to further her career and better herself as a wife and mother.

The conference concluded with a resource fair, where people could connect with local organizations that deal with women’s issues, including Safe Haven, Health Net of West Michigan and many others. The Women In Action conference was well attended by young women and some men as well, and it displayed examples of women flourishing in today’s world, raised awareness of women’s issues and sought to empower people to embrace the life of being, or supporting, women in action.