Veterans’ Success features women’s panel

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Photo by Cody Glassett

Personal experiences in the armed services and issues of gender inequality were the main issues brought up during a Veterans Women’s Panel in the Grande Ballroom Nov. 8.

The Veteran’s Success Center and the Women’s Success Center at UVU kicked off Veteran’s week by featuring an hour and a half long panel discussion with student veterans: Lena Sansom, Leslie Zimmerman, Mallory Cochran and Sarah Snyder.

“For me, it’s really great to hear assertive, confident women speak on their experiences,” said Marcy Hehnly, moderator and assistant professor of criminal justice at UVU. “Women can be leaders as well.”

Cochran said, “It’s a challenge every day to prove that women in this culture can still be who they want to be.”

The need to empower girls through positive reinforcement at a young age and to break down traditional social norms that hinder women from being considered capable and equal were the core themes of the panel’s message.

When discussing equality and sexism in the military, Sansom recalled her experiences with gender inequality.

“There was a lot of inequality because all the males that I worked with were of the old mindset that females cannot be military police officers,” said Sansom. “They would say, ‘this is a man’s job, you don’t belong here’. There was a lot of hazing that was going on, such as dipping tampons in ketchup and throwing them at me.”

Despite experiences like this, the four panelists were optimistic about their time in the military.

“We as females are just as good and if you take the gender out of it, it’s just who is better at what job; the gender doesn’t matter,” Zimmerman said, “I can climb a rope faster than most guys, I can run just as fast as them, I can shoot better than almost any man I’ve ever known, so doing that combat stuff, yea, bring it, let’s go.”