Harvard Hears You: Summit for Gender Equity

April 2, 2019



Harvard Hears You: The 2019 Summit for Gender Equity, co-sponsored by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and Harvard University Title IX Office, took place on April 2, 2019. 

The daytime portion of the Summit, open to all Harvard community members, included events at the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center. The day brought together experts in our community: students, faculty, and staff, as well as invited guests to present in a variety of formats including on-stage interviews, performances and panel presentations. Candid discussions about key issues in the current climate, including gender discrimination on university campuses, due process, and intersectional approaches to equity were encouraged. This Summit began a necessary dialogue, strengthened by lessons learned here and elsewhere, as Harvard strives to be a harassment-free community.  The evening featured a special guest panel at Memorial Church, and included an important discussion on gender equity and gender stereotyping across industries, popular culture, advertising, and consumerism.



Welcome & Opening Remarks: Larry Bacow & Michèle Lamont

Harvard Hears You: The 2019 Summit for Gender Equity opened the day with remarks from Undergraduate Council President, Sruthi Palaniappan, and Vice President, Julia Huesa.

In setting a frame and intentions for the day, opening remarks also introduced and welcomed Harvard University President, Lawrence S. Bacow, to speak about the roles each of us can play in advancing gender equity in the Harvard community.

Opening remarks culminated with an introduction to the morning keynote by Michèle Lamont, Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies and the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies at Harvard University. She served as the 108th President of the American Sociological Association in 2016-2017 and she chaired the Council for European Studies from 2006-2009. She is also the recipient of the 2017 Erasmus prize for her contributions to the social sciences in Europe and the rest of the world.

Opening Keynote: Jess Weiner

Jess Weiner is a cultural expert focusing on the intersection of business, social change and inclusivity.

Student Performance: Najya Williams '20

Najya Williams is an undergraduate at Harvard College

Legal Perspectives in Gender Equity

What role does the legal system play in the lived experiences of those grappling with gender and sexual harassment in universities? How should we think about the various ways universities respond to the law? How can individuals be better informed about the options available to their community, as they respond to those responses? This panel explored these questions and more as experts from diverse perspectives discussed the law as it pertains to gender equity in the university.



Student Performance: The Kuumba Singers of Harvard College

Kuumba was founded in 1970 by Dennis Wiley and Fred Lucas, two African American undergraduates of the Harvard class of 1972. (read more)

A Conversation on LGBTQ Inclusion

Whether in the microcosm of the university classroom, in the academy more broadly or beyond the walls of educational institutions, an intentional focus towards LGBTQ inclusion is necessary. This panel brought experts from across Harvard University together to discuss best practices and lessons learned throughout their years of experience.



Organizational Approaches to Ending Gender Inequality

With expertise spanning a range of disciplines, this session drew from leaders in the field throughout Harvard University. This panel examined gender inequality from an organizational perspective and offered insight into ending discriminatory practices.



How Data and Student Voices Drive Change

Garnering data from a community is merely the first step in driving effective change. How can institutions harness the power of student voices towards a more equitable community? With the Association of American Universities Survey release, this panel explored what happens after our community has spoken.



Closing & Evening Keynote Preview: Peggy Newell

Peggy Newell, Harvard University Deputy Provost, closed the daytime portion of the Summit for Gender Equity with remarks and a preview of the evening event featuring Laverne Cox, Nicolette Mason, Christian Siriano, and Jess Weiner.

Gender, Power, and Culture: A Conversation with Laverne Cox, Nicolette Mason, Christian Siriano, & Jess Weiner

This evening event, set in Memorial Church and featuring a panel of renowned guests, involved a ground-breaking discussion on gender equity, breaking through the gender binary, and challenging gender stereotypes in popular culture, industry, and beyond. Laverne Cox, Nicolette Mason, Christian Siriano, and Jess Weiner joined this exciting panel.