Allison Butler, associate professor of applied psychology, has been a member of the Bryant community for the past seven years. As a teenager, Butler attended an all-girls Quaker school. That is where she gained the confidence to realize that she can achieve the goals she set for herself and discovered her personal strengths and weaknesses. Today, in her professional life, Butler tries to honor her strengths by digging in to challenging tasks, by being active and engaged, and by speaking up.
While living by feminist ideals in the workplace has been going well, Butler has realized that the real challenges lie in raising her own children to embrace gender equality. “My husband and I choose to tackle this head on,” Butler notes. “For example, when my son said, ‘We are totally going to win Sunday’s soccer game because the other team is mostly girls,’ we challenged his thinking by pointing out two girls, including his cousin, who are considerably better soccer players than him. We could immediately see the wheels turning in his seven year-old mind!”
On another occasion, Butler passed her daughter a female doll when she asked for the doctor, and she said, “No mommy, she is the nurse!” This prompted Butler to quickly point out the great number of female doctors that she and her daughter both knew. “In both of these examples with my children, we needed to speak up and challenge their ideas. While it’s always easier to smile, nod, and move along, feminism is about speaking up – even to the little ones!”
For Butler, feminism means realizing that we, as women today, have choices that our grandmothers and our grandmother’s grandmothers didn’t have. “We have a responsibility to be our best selves and to use our minds and strength to make good choices that leave a positive impact on the world around us,” she says. “Feminism is about showing up, stepping up, and speaking up, even when it’s scary or difficult,” Butler notes.
Professionally, Butler feels her biggest accomplishment has been receiving tenure and being promoted from Assistant to Associate Professor. “I feel very grateful to work within the Bryant University community, and I couldn’t be happier that my professional journey will continue here for many years to come.”
When asked if she has any words of wisdom for her students, Butler states that she would like her students to feel safe challenging ideas and to feel confident sharing the unique perspective that only they can offer. “Remember to honor your strengths by always showing up, stepping up, and speaking up!” Butler suggests.
It is the hope of the Women’s Center and the Bryant Archway to make the Featuring Feminism column a permanent spot in the weekly newspaper. The intent of this column will be to highlight empowered women and men who strive to make a difference on Bryant’s campus, particularly in the realm of equality and acceptance of all students. Each week a student, staff, or faculty member can be nominated by Tuesday by sending an email to Aubrey Waz (firstname.lastname@example.org) with an individual’s name and a brief description of why you believe this individual should be the following week’s featured feminist.