Camden: The all Purpose room was filled with a multitude of people that ranged from alumni, staff, professors, and students on Wednesday, April 1 during free period. It was the 7th annual presentation in the Jacob Abraham and Mildred Amelia Baron Lecture Series: “Working for Women’s Economic Equality at the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Dept. of Labor” w/ Latifa Lyles, Director of the Women’s Bureau, Dept. of Labor.
The lecture series was founded by “Jeffrey I. Baron as part of the Jacob Abraham and Mildred Amelia Baron Fund to provide academic enrichment to undergraduate students in Political Science at the Camden College of Arts and Sciences.” This year Mr. Baron was unable to attend due to a health issue, but he was truly missed by the attendees.
Political Science Professor Dr. Shauna Shames introduced Ms Lyles, mentioning the days when they worked together and all of the qualities that makes Ms Lyles a great choice for this years speaker.
Latifa Lyles has been working for the Bureau for six years and not only told stories about the different events that she has come across with her time at the Bureau but also the importance and need of equality in the work force. She mentioned that the pay gap is no longer as large as problem, as the fight for women to have paid maternity leave. She spoke highly of all the strides she helped make a difference for women in the labor force, and she gave students the insight needed to understand the inequalities and struggle that the Women’s Bureau has been fighting for in the last 50 years since it was added to the Department of Labor.
She was very empowering and insightful and gave people the information needed to understand this small section of such a large department. Also spent time explaining that the reason we need a women’s department and her feelings towards people saying “Why isn’t there a men’s bureau in the Department of Labor?” Her answer is usually her talking about how it took years for legislation to be passed in the last ten years alone to make pay equal to men and women. The largest problem she spoke about is the unacceptance towards the Women’s bureau and how they fear that they will lose all of its funding which would prevent its mission to make way and allow for equality in the work force.
On a personal note leaving this lecture I came out feeling more empowered to make a difference and continue raising awareness of inequality and struggle with the female gender.