The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


Janet Mock — best known for her transgender rights activism — will be the keynote speaker for Penn Women’s Week on April 2nd at 7 p.m. in Cohen G17. | Photo Courtesy of Juston Smith/Wikimedia Commons

Janet Mock — best known for her transgender rights activism, her work at People Magazine and her memoir “Redefining Realness” — will be the keynote speaker for Penn Women’s Week. Her appearance is set for April 2 at 7 p.m. in Claudia Cohen Hall G17.

Women’s Week will take place from March 28 to April 2, and the theme of the week this year is empowerment.

The purpose of Women’s Week is to have an entire week with events dedicated to supporting and celebrating women for the Penn community, according to an official statement issued by the Penn Association for Gender Equity and the Women’s Week 2016 planning board. Everyone in the Penn community is welcome to attend the events.

The week will feature a host of diverse events ranging from a panel on women in entrepreneurship to a discussion on queer women and their coming out narratives to a day-long leadership conference hosted by the gender, sexuality and women’s studies program.

Mock’s keynote speech will be the culminating event of the week.

“When we were looking for a speaker, we wanted to have someone who brought a very specific perspective,” College junior and Marketing Chair for PAGE Jessica Faust said. “I think it’s special that we are having a trans woman be the speaker for Women’s Week because it really supports the idea that we believe that trans women are women. This is Women’s Week, and we are celebrating women.”

Caitlyn Jenner’s campus appearance on Feb. 17 sparked intense discourse, and organizers hope Mock’s appearance will continue that dialogue.

“It’s important that she stimulates discourse on what it means to be a person in a marginalized community struggling to come to terms with their identity or struggling to achieve what they want to achieve just because of how society can sometimes put down people who aren’t part of the cis, white, powerful, wealthy community,” said College senior Sabina Spigner, who is the manager of the Women’s Week 2016 planning board. “What she’s all about is just empowering all people to be who they want to be and go for what you want to do.”

Nursing junior Ian Jeong, the chair of Lambda Alliance, hopes that these events aren’t the be-all, end-all when it comes to meaningful discourse on gender and sexuality.

“I hope that it’s just a starting point for the continued effort to have this dialogue that questions cis-womanhood and the binary,” Jeong said.

Mock, who began her transition in high school, came out publicly in a 2011 Marie Claire article. In 2014, she published “Redefining Realness,” which later became a New York Times bestseller. The memoir recounts Mock’s experiences growing up poor, transgender and multiracial, while encouraging greater self-acceptance and self-realization.

That same year, Mock started hosting her own weekly culture show, “So POPular!,” on MSNBC, where she analyzes popular culture through a variety of lenses.

Mock has been featured in a multitude of media outlets and been named to a number of lists, including “The Colbert Report,” “The Nightly Show,” The New York Times, NPR and the OUT100 list.

PAGE, QSP2 — the LGBTQ group for the School of Social Policy & Practice —, the United Minorities Council and Lambda Alliance are co-sponsoring Mock’s appearance, aiding the Women’s Week 2016 planning board in terms of funding and publicity.

“If your feminism doesn’t include women of color, trans women, women with disabilities, women who are single moms, Muslim women, Christian women, women who don’t have a religion, what does that really mean? And who is left at the table?” Jeong said.

The first wave of online ticket reservations to see Mock will go out at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 21, and then the second round on 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23. Further ticketing information, as well as a full list of Women’s Week events, can be found on the Facebook event page.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.