Effort to Combat Stereotypical Views of Women Gains Support

When the University of Hartford’s Women for Change student organization unveiled their new calendar - geared toward promoting women’s self-esteem - last week, they announced that sales will benefit CTGirlcott, the new initiative led by Charter Oak Cultural Center and a collaboration of Hartford-area organizations. This year's calendar is the largest to date, featuring 45 women, including students, staff, faculty, alumnae, and community leaders. The annual calendars are designed to combat stereotypical images of women. To create the calendar, Women for Change asked women to write about what they are “free to..” be, do, think, live, etc, and submit a photo to accompany the write-up.  Mala Matacin, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology, founded Women For Change three years ago, which has grown to more than 150 members. In previous years the calendars have sold hundreds and received national attention.

The theme dovetailed perfectly with Girlcott, a locally-inspired initiative of women willing to go makeup free for a portion of  March 2013 (Women’s History Month) and donate the money usually spent on cosmetics to organizations that benefit women and girls in Connecticut and around the world, raising awareness about the relationship between women and the makeup they wear, issues of body image, self-esteem, gender roles and more.

CTGirlcott is being organized by the Charter Oak Cultural Center, YWCA Hartford Region, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, and The Women’s Education and Leadership Fund.  A website has been developed, featuring additional information and photographs.

Last week, organizers of CTGirlcott appeared on WFSB-TV Channel 3’s Better Connecticut program, where host Kara Sundlun was make-up free, in keeping with the theme of the initiative.  Organizers are seeking other prominent people – as well as women from all walks of life – to participate as a means of highlighting the importance of self-image among girls and women.

In the run-up to March, a series of panel discussions, movies, and other events are being held to raise awareness for the effort.