CWO Elections!!!

We interrupt your normally scheduled procession of GBM content posts to give you the good news:


We’re sending out applications and office descriptions in the weekly email so make sure you’re on our list. Being a part of the CWO board enables you to be a bigger part of decisions and to have a say in what we do as an organization. In board meetings, we discuss upcoming events and how they’re being handled, possible collaborations, assign responsibilities to board members, and bounce ideas off of each other for potential events. Being on the board is a great opportunity to learn how to be a leader in a campus organization. It’s also a chance to meet and work with the university’s administrators and to enact real change on our campus. Send us an email stating you’d like to run at

Here’s the low down on the stuffs:

  • When: March 29th, 9pm, WPU 837
  • Eligibility: You must have attended one general body meeting to vote and two general body meetings to run for a position.
  • The positions open to all members are all co-chair positions and office administrator.
  • The roles of President and Vice President must be filled by people who have already held positions on the board (sorry, not sorry).

Look ahead for more specifics:

President: The President of CWO serves as the figurehead for the organization. They organize and chair Steering Committee meetings and facilitate general body meetings while at all times considering the vision and mission of the organization. The President fills the roles of vacant officers until new ones are appointed and upholds, supports, and implements all decisions made by the Steering Committee. In addition, the President signs all official forms, delegates duties to other officers and assists with event coordinators and officers as needed. The President also oversees the Office Administrator, Vice President, and Business Manager as well as weekly meetings with the Advisor.
Vice President: The Vice President of CWO assumes the role of President if the President is unable to attend meetings. The Vice President mediates issues between Outreach, Public Relations and Political Action chairs and their vice chairs. In addition, the Vice President maintains a working relationship with the President through bi-weekly meetings.
Business Manager: The Business Manager of CWO maintains the financial reports and submits budgets requests in October and March. Additionally, the Business Manager prepares and submits all supplemental requests and budget modification requests.
Office Administrator: The Office Administrator of CWO records minutes of all Steering Committee meetings and emails the minutes to other Board members within 48 hours of the Steering Committee meeting. In addition, the Office Administrator is in charge of all room reservation requests, as well as tech set up and food donations. The Office Administrator is in charge of sending out weekly emails to CWO members with information about upcoming events and community activities.
Public Relations Co-Chairs: The Public Relations Co-Chairs of CWO promote and produce flyers and advertisements for CWO events. The Public Relations Co-Chairs are also in charge of distributing these flyers and maintaining the Facebook page and group. They look for new and innovative ways to promote CWO events.
Community Outreach Co-Chairs: The Community Outreach Co-Chairs of CWO are ambassadors for the organization and set up co-sponsorships and collaborations with other organizations. Additionally, the Community Outreach Co-Chairs are responsible for being informed about university and community events and informing the members of CWO. They work to recruit new members and stay in contact with organizations throughout Pittsburgh, such as Pittsburgh Action Against Rape and Planned Parenthood.
Political Action Co-Chairs: The Political Action Co-Chairs of CWO create and execute political campaigns unique to CWO’s mission statement with the help of national coalition partners (such as Choice USA, Feminist Majority Foundation). In addition, the Political Action Co-Chairs of CWO are responsible for staying informed of federal and state legislation and reporting this information back to board members.
So, will you answer the call?
-Pitt CWO

Critical History of Feminism

From Tuesday, March 1.

The Waves

The “Wave Model” was first established by Martha Lear of NYT, 1968
First Wave (19th-early 20th cty)
Focus on women’s suffrage
Prohibition was a feminist concern

Second Wave (1950s-1980s)
Reproductive rights & wage/job equality
Can women “HAVE IT ALL?”

Problems with the Waves
Overwhelmingly catered to white women
Assumed that women want to “have it all”
Erases  women’s movements that happened in between the waves
What problems do YOU have with the waves?

Some More Waves
Third Wave (1990-???)
whether we’re still in the “third wave” is widely debated
focus on rape, sexual assault, patriarchy
“Riot Grrrl” movement in punk music
female empowerment!
tried to tackle intersectionality, especially issues brought up by colonialism

White Feminism
Describes feminists that use ideology that serves only middle to upper class, cis, straight, white women
Assumes that white women experience misogyny in the same way all women experience misogyny
EXAMPLE: After Viola Davis gave her acceptance speech at the 2015 Emmys, she experienced backlash from her fellow actress, Nancy Lee Grahn, who claimed she’d never been discriminated against

Feminist Icons
Simone de Beauvoir
Susan B Anthony
Angela Davis
Gloria Steinem
Alice Walker
Laverne Cox
Françoise d’Eaubonne
Gloria Anzaldua
Amandla Stenberg
Rowan Blanchard
Zendaya Coleman

Dorothy Height
Major civil rights leader
Grew up in Pittsburgh suburb
Served as president for the National Council of Negro Women from 1957 – 1997
Did major work on the Belmont Report, a response to the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
Received Presidential Medal of Freedom (1994) and Congressional Gold Medal (2004)

Kakenya Ntaiya
Earned a doctorate in education at Pitt
Founded the Kakenya Center for Excellence in Kenya, which focuses on girls’ education and the harmful practices that prevent girls and women from shaping their own destinies, such as genital mutilation and child marriage
The center provides quality education, comprehensive support for their daily needs and a community-focused approach to empower girls and women to take control of their lives

Alternatives to Feminism
a social change perspective based upon the everyday problems and experiences of black women; seeks methods to eradicate inequalities not just for black women, but for all people

school of thought that favors equality for all people; all people should be treated as equals and have the same political, economic, social, and civil rights.

Backlash against feminism
Men’s Rights Movement (started 1970s)
Focuses on false rape accusations, criminalization of marital rape, adoption, domestic violence, suicide
Meninism  (started early 2000s)
Focuses on misandry, father’s rights, disproportionate prison sentences, suicide
Independent Women’s Forum
Promotes traditional family roles
other examples include the Women Against Feminism movement happening on social media

An anti-suffrage headquarters in 1911


What are some shortcomings of contemporary feminism?
Continuing in the legacy of past waves, the microphone of feminism continues to be given to white, privileged, cis women.
Feminism can fails to overcome the misconceptions surrounding it.
Continues to be division between different “types” or “sects” of feminism.

Are we “All in this together?”
Should all approaches to women’s rights and the rights of gender minorities be united or grouped under the term- feminism?


Why do we need feminism?
Many of the issues that feminists have fought for in history continue into today.
Even with its traditional flaws, feminism starts a really important conversation.
See also quotes like this:
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” -Todd Akin (commenting on pregnancy resulting from rape)

Final Thoughts…
Our feminism should prioritise trans women, queer women, WOC, disabled women, poor women, intersex women, fat women, and all of the different ways these identities (and more) intersect because throughout history they have never been a priority for anyone else


Climate Change and Women

A collaborative event between CWO and Free the Planet from Tuesday, February 16th.

What is Climate Change?

  • Greenhouse Gas Effect
    • Greenhouse gas emissions increase due to burning fossil fuels
    • CO2, Methane, CFCs (H2O even!)


  • Atmospheric CO2 Spike
    • Flux of concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere over natural cycles
    • Humans are creating CO2 at higher rate than ever. Exacerbating these fluxes (causing larger, more intense CO2 spikes)
    • Not only are we releasing CO2 and other GHG’s… these gasses stay in the atmosphere for a long time and influencing climate.envirograph
  • Impacts of Warming Climate
    • Sea level rise
    • Snow & ice cover decrease
    • Changing precipitation patterns
    • Increased intensity/frequency of extreme weather—floods, droughts, heat waves, hurricanes
    • Drops in agricultural and fish yields
    • Spread of disease
    • Ocean acidification
    • Also…
      • Positive feedback loops
      • Often, an increase/decrease in one causes an increase/decrease in the other

Who does Climate Change impact?

  • Variable effectsvulnerabilitymap
    • Variable effects geographically!
    • Many areas are more vulnerable than others
    • Bangladesh is ranked as the most vulnerable to climate change impacts in 2011.. due to:
      • extreme levels of poverty
      • high dependency on agriculture
      • high risk of drought
      • highest risk of flooding
    • Impacts the already disadvantaged
      • Climate change and environmental degradation will most greatly affect the least powerful people in society
      • Climate change will exacerbate existing social inequalities, including gender inequality
      • “Gender inequality is showing up… in climate change, Dr. Amber Fletcher”
  • Impacts on Women
    • Extreme Weather
      • 2007 Study: Impact of Catastrophic Events on the Gender Gap in Life Expectancy
      • First, biological and physiological differences between men and women may at times disadvantage women in their immediate response to the disaster
      • Second, social norms and role behavior may lead to a behavior of women that increases their vulnerability in the immediate course of the disaster.
      • Third, disasters may lead to shortage of resources of basic need as well as a temporary breakdown of social order, in which case the competition between individuals becomes fiercer and existing forms of gender discrimination become exacerbated and new forms of discrimination can emerge.
    • Food and Water Security

What can we do?

Badass Women

  • Rachel Carson
    • 40’s-60’s,born in Springdale (allegheny river), went to Chatham, concerns about DDT (no singing birds in spring) ‘62 silent spring, super inspiring EPA ecofeminism, death in ‘64(56)
  • Wangari Maathai
    • Kenyan born, school in Kansas originally then here for a masters in Biology! ‘’66, inspiring work in pittsburgh for environmental restoration, back Nairobi for PhD and founding of green belt movement 1977, teaching women how to plant trees and sustainable agriculture, politically active unbowed,  death 2011(71)

Consider these questions that we discussed at the event:

  • As an individual, what is the most effective way you can make a difference to improve gender inequality or address your environmental impact? Do you believe your actions at home can make a difference in the global community?
  • How can we get women more involved in environmental decision-making?
  • Women are not the only groups disproportionately affected by climate change. What other minorities and groups also face challenges due to socioeconomic inequalities?

Condom Casino Fun Facts

From Tuesday, January 16th 

CWO’s annual Condom Casino is our Sex ed event! We play games with condoms acting as chips and we learn about sexual health. Here are some of the trivia facts we had around.

  • How much liquid can an average condom hold?
    • A gallon (128 ounces)
  • Women of color are more prone to instance of sexual assault & rape. For example, 1 in 3 Native American women are expected to have been victims of sexual assault and rape in their lifetimes.
  • Only 22 states require that sex education be part of the curriculum in public schools.
  • Abstinence-only education is being funded by taxpayer money. (Some people argue this is increasing teenage pregnancy.)
  • Teens get much of their information online. This information can be severely inaccurate.
  • Only 5% of schools have made condoms available to their students.
  • Student Health now offers free condoms to students!
  • The incidence of sexual assault and sexual misconduct due to physical force, threats of physical force, or incapacitation among female undergraduate students at Pitt is 21%, according to the AAU Survey.
  • Which kind of lube should you use with condoms?
    • Water-based
  • Overall rates of reporting to campus officials and law enforcement or others were low, ranging from 5-28%.
  • The most common reason for not reporting incidents of sexual assault and sexual misconduct was that it was not considered serious enough.
  • A little less than half of the students have witnessed a drunk person heading for a sexual encounter. Among those who reported being a witness, most did not try to intervene.
  • About a quarter of the students generally believe they are knowledgeable about the resources available related to sexual assault and misconduct
  • Factoring in unreported rapes, only about 3% of rapists will ever serve a day in prison.
  • Protection should be used for which sex acts?
    • Vaginal intercourse
    • Oral sex
    • Anal intercourse
  • About 3% of American men — or 1 in 33 — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
  • What kinds of birth control are available for women?
    • Daily pills
    • Intra-uterine devices (IUDs)
    • Female condoms
  • Non-latex condoms are available for individuals who have a latex allergy.
  • Birth control is most effective when taken within the same 2-hour window every day.
  • Many cases of chlamydia go unnoticed because it often presents with no symptoms.
  • Although both men and women can contract HPV, testing exists only for women.
  • Sexual consent is something that people need to discuss, no matter how long they have been in a relationship or how much sexual experience they have had.

Virtual [In]Equality: Women in the World of Video Games

From Tuesday, January 12th

During this meeting, we touched upon quite a few different topics, ranging from the way women are characterized in games, how women are representing in gaming as a whole, all the way to #Gamergate.

Below are a few of the resources from the presentation:

What’s your take on women in video games?

Who are your favorite virtual women?

Do you think game developers ethically responsible for creating representative characters in their games? Why?

Hello…It’s Me…Again

This post is to say that though this WordPress hasn’t been too poppin’, CWO sure has. In the past two months, there have been a number of events, including our biggest of the semester, Condom Casino and the Vagina Monologues. But we’re back! And we’re getting started again with updating you on what you’ve missed from past events.


-Pitt CWO ❤

Trans Day of Remembrance

Today is the Trans Day of Remembrance.

One of the professed goals of the Campus Women’s Organization is to “represent the women of the University of Pittsburgh and their interests, namely: education, empowerment, full representation, reproductive justice, and expression of all their identities.” To do that, we need your help. Sometimes it is difficult to know how to help. Here’s the play-by-play:

1. Attend an event and say their names (of the trans folk who have died/been murdered/committed suicide)

2. Uplift the work of trans and non-binary people

3. Support orgs that improve the lives of trans people

Because transwomen are women.

They’re also people worthy of love and respect just like you.

Terf wars: Trans Issues in Feminism

From Tuesday, November 10

Language etiquette 

Pronouns: Always use the pronouns that person currently uses



Xe/xir/xem // ze/zir/zem

Even when talking about them in the past

Terminology: never ‘when she was a man’

Uses of AFAB, etc. These should generally be avoided because its’s transphobic af to refer to a trans person by their birth sex, it should really be used for a description of how they were socialized when growing up. Unless you are a doctor who deals with a lot of trans patients, there’s really no need to know someone’s assignment.

Under the “does this even need to be said?” genitals. Never ask about a persons genitals, it is not your business unless you are sexually involved with them or you are their doctor (and even then be VERY respectful). Asking about a trans person’s body objectifies them by reducing them to their physical bodies, whereas gender is all about how you feel inside.

Transphobic language


  • It
  • She-man / she-male
  • He-she
  • Transvestite
  • Misgendering
  • “confused”
  • Using a dead name

These words are really harmful emotionally to trans folks because of their history and their connotations. They were made with the intention of dehumanizing and hurting trans folks

non binary identities

  • Agender
  • Genderqueer
  • Genderfluid
  • Demigender
  • Bigender
  • Trigender
  • Third gender
  • Hijra (South Asian) – only legally recognized in India but used around South Asia
  • Mahu (Hawai’i) – identity in Hawai’I that has evolved into a slur. Translates into ‘the middle’
  • Two-spirit (Native American) – Lakota and Navajo tribes are examples of tribes that use this

Disclaimer: This is a limited list. Genders are as infinite as the universe


  • Stands for Trans Exclusive Radical Feminism
  • TERF is branded within its community as “gender critical feminism” *groan*
  • Feminism’s problematic herstory
    • MichFest
    • The gender police
    • Passing and “realness”
      • “Real” is used to describe cis people
      • Trans people are often policed more than cis people, which leads to passing as a form of survival
      • Creates a hierarchy within trans community
    • Petition to remove the T from LGBT
  • Violence against trans women
  • 28 trans people have been killed this year
  • Failure of news outlets to cover these properly and respectfully
  • How can we combat these issues in feminism?

What TERFs look like

  • Outing a trans or nb person to their employer
  • “Trans women can’t be lesbians”
  • Assert that cis people aren’t privileged
  • Believes ‘cis’ is offensive
  • Uses normal in place of the word ‘cis’
    • Also assert cis people aren’t privileged in a world that’s hostile to trans people

Instead of using unnecessarily gendered language, you can use this alternatives!

  • Girl // boy // man // woman à human // person
  • Girlfriend // boyfriend à partner // date // datefriend // datemate // babefriend // person // significant other
  • Ladies and gentlemen à distinguished guests // folks // y’all // yinz // guests


  • Original meaning was peculiar
  • Came to be used as a derogatory term
  • Reclaimed by the LGBTQ+ community
  • Usage varies

Media Representation

  • What are some examples of good representation? How about bad representation?
  • Transparent
  • Orange is the new black
  • Laverne Cox
  • Janet Mock
  • Sylvia Rivera
  • Marsha P Johnson
  • American Horror Story

PGH resources

  • Rainbow Alliance
  • Gay and Lesbian Community Center
  • Transpridepittsburgh
  • Project Silk
  • Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • The Name Change Project


The Complex Lives of Sex Workers

From Wednesday, November 4th

Trigger warning

We will be discussing sex work, sexual abuse, and rape in this post.

Safe space

CWO is a safe space for everyone to express their opinions and share their experiences should they chose to do so. If an individual invalidates or disrespects someone’s experience, that individual will be asked to leave.

What is sex work?

The provision of sexual services for money or goods

Discussion question

What are the connotations (positive or negative) associated with sex work, sex workers, and those that solicit sexual services?

Different types of sex work

  • Commercial sex work
    • Indoor
      • Escort services
      • Brothel work
      • Massage parlor work
      • Bar or casino work
    • Street
  • Phone sex operation
  • Exotic dancing (stripping)
  • Webcam nude modeling
  • Pornography
  • Peepshow performing

What isn’t sex work?

  • Sex trafficking
  • Traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt, bondange, or other forrms of coersion to force women, men, and children to engage in commercial sex against their will
  • Under federal law, any person under 18 that engages in sex work is considered to be a victim of sex trafficking
  • People that come from foreign countries to engage in sex work are all considered victims of sex trafficking



  • Commercial sex work – exchange of money or goods for sexual services which involves a sex worker and a client
  • Full service sex worker – prostitute
  • Survival sex
  • Harm reduction – methodology that seeks to reduce potential harms of high risk behavior, rather than restrict the behavior
  • Independent
  • Agency – the ability of a person to act for themself
  • Pimp
  • John
  • Incall
  • Outcall
  • Trick

The history of sex work in the U.S.

  • Present since the early American settlements
    • Some of the first women to arrive to the U.S. settlements
  • The introduction of Red Light Districts
  • Sex work was transformed into a “social evil” during the turn of the 20th century
    • Sex work becomes viewed as a “social disease” that can be legally prohibited and abolished

Discussion question

What are some of the reasons that people enter into sex work?

Why do people go into sex work?

  • Money
  • Autonomy/independence
  • Shelter
  • Drug dependency
  • Inability to escape
  • Survival sex
    • Sexual abuse as children
      • Girls that are survivors of sexual abuse are 3 times more likely to go into prostitution than girls that were not sexually abused
      • Given that one of the strongest predictors of engagement in survival sex is a prior history of sexual abuse by adult caregivers, some researchers theorize that rather than being driven to survival sex out of desperation, street children might be reproducing familiar behaviour and relationship patterns.[4]
  • Average age of entry into sex work: 16

The complexity of agency

  • Free will
    • Many people go into sex work of their own volition
  • Survival sex
    • Can be consensual
    • Can change what consent looks like for the sex worker

Locations of sex work

  • Indoor Sex Work
    • 63% Cisgender Women
    • 33% Cisgender Men
    • 4% Transgender
      • 70% Women
      • 27% Men
      • 3% Non-Binary
  • Street Sex Work
    • 83% Cisgender Women
    • 7% Cisgender Men
    • 10% Transgender Women
  • Indoor Sex Work
    • 44% White
    • 27% Latinx
    • 15% Black
    • 12% Asian
    • 2% Mixed
  • Street Sex Work
    • 21% White
    • 27% Latinx
    • 52% Black


  • Street workers
    • 50% experienced violence
    • 27% victims of rape
  • Indoor workers
    • 26% experienced violence
    • 8% victims of rape
  • Police
    • 14% of sex workers have been threatened with arrest if they didn’t sleep with an officer
    • 8% obliged and were arrested
    • 5% refused and were arrested


  • What it means: All aspects of full service sex work are illegal, including johns, pimps, and the workers themselves
  • Where in the World: Mostly everywhere! (Including MOST of America)
  • Pros: Some sex workers with drug addictions may appreciate being removed from their environment when in a downward spiral, and others resent stringent health inspections imposed in legalization
  • Cons: Institutionalizes workers both in prison and within sex work, increases incidences of violence and disease, unfairly targets transgender workers and workers of color, as well as people of low income, rarely targets johns and pimps


  • What it means: Johns and Pimps are illegal, sex workers are not so long as they display that they did not actively engage in their work
  • Where in the World: Sweden, with the Nordic Model
  • Pros: Potentially more helpful toward victims of trafficking than criminalization
  • Cons: Same cons as criminalization–workers can be arrested for carrying condoms, actively propositioning clients, negotiating prices themselves, etc., victims of trafficking may still experience police harassment


  • What it means: Legalized, but has special rules attached to it that aren’t applied to other industries (i.e. brothel work only, no independent work, certain health inspections across the board)
  • Where in the World: Nevada, since 1971
  • Pros: Police protection for brothels, ability to have open solidarity, violent crime no longer seen as an occupational hazard when working within a business
  • Cons: Unsavory working conditions, excessive health inspections, poor living conditions, reduces sex worker income by 30 to 50 percent


  • What it means: Everything is legal in regard to exchanging sexual acts for money/goods
  • Where in the World: New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, and parts of Australia
  • Pros: No difference in physical health, self-esteem, mental health, or “quality of social networks” between sex workers and non-sex workers in New Zealand. Also, allows sex workers easier avenues toward being able to find housing and other lines of work should they choose that
  • Cons: Does not appear to diminish stigmatization towards workers

The “War on Sex Trafficking” in America

  • Legislation meant to crack down on sex trafficking
    • Frequently targets sex workers in general
    • Legislation targets people that offer or solicit paid sex, people who live with sex workers, and those who run classified advertising websites
  • US government-funded sex trafficking sting operations
    • July 2015 – Homeland Security, the AZ Dept of Public Safety, and other AZ state agencies – “human trafficking enforcement operation,” stopped commercial trucks and checked license plates, 30 stops, 0 arrests
    • April 2014 – FBI released crime data on state-based trafficking investigations, 14 human trafficking incidents in 13 states, 4 arrests
    • 2008 – 2010 Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2515 suspected incidents of human trafficking, 6% of investigations resulted in arrests
  • Hurts sex workers
    • Wastes resources on “rescue” and sting operations that could be used to help sex workers and victims of trafficking
    • TVPA – 2006 – Bush administration gave US Conference of Catholic Bishops $19 million to oversee government services to women, no money given to counseling for abortion or birth control
    • Crackdown – Las Vegas – 2009 – received $500,000 federal grant to combat human trafficking, but money went towards paying cops overtime to arrest full service sex workers
      • Only resulted in 10 cases of trafficking
    • Victims – idea that sex workers wouldn’t go into their field voluntarily, affront to workers’ autonomy, workers get shipped off to counseling, which interferes with their work and ability to make money
    • Counseling is often religious – shaming, threats, and moralism
  • Anti-trafficking used to be a feminist issue
  • Used to be about sex workers’ rights, now it’s been co-opted by religious conservatives into an anti-sex movement that punishes sex workers

Global patterns of sex work: male sex tourism

  • Frequent destinations include regions where:
    • Prostitution is legal or decriminalised
    • The population of women is largely non-White
  • Men explain their solicitation of sex work as:
    • Satisfaction of immediate sexual needs
    • A way to select specific physical, racial, or sexual stereotypes
    • A way to make up for what is not being fulfilled in their current relationships
  • Women explain their participation in sex work as:
    • Their only option of work
    • Something during which they experience little positive emotion
    • Rape myth acceptance and rape endorsement

Global patterns of sex work: female sex tourism

  • Unusual in that it is a pattern of female – instead of male – sex tourism
  • Mixed reception to this growing trend
    • Fetishization versus Agency and Mutual Benefits
  • The sellers are typically of the following demographic:
    • Black men from Kenya, Gambia, the Caribbean, and Latin America
    • Moderate to Low socio-economic status
    • Young in age
  • The buyers are typically of the following demographic:
    • White American or White European women
    • High socio-economic status
    • Middle-aged