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North Liberty fraternity awarded grant to promote gender equity
$250,000 will be used to dismantle machismo, promote reproductive choice on campuses
NORTH LIBERTY — The Collaboration for Gender + Reproductive Equity (CGRE) has awarded Sigma Lambda Beta a $250,000 grant to promote gender equity across the country.
The national fraternity, based in North Liberty, is one of the largest historically Latino, multicultural fraternities in the country.
“We believe that if we begin the conversation by breaking down traditional gender norms defined by machismo culture, we can then involve our brothers in the larger conversation around women’s empowerment and reproductive choices,” said Steve Galvan, national chairman of Sigma Lambda Beta.
The grant will fund Sigma Lambda Beta’s Multicultural Leadership Program, which aims to dismantle machismo culture among men and promote reproductive choice at colleges and in local communities. With about 100 chapters and 13,000 members across more than 30 states, the fraternity is in a unique position to execute a new grassroots approach to improving gender equity — both within their male chapters and the communities they live in.
Machismo is broadly defined as an exaggerated culture of masculine pride that can exhibit overbearing attitudes toward anyone in a position perceived to be inferior.
“It’s time to dispel the myth that reproductive choice is simply a ‘women’s problem,’ ” said Trishala Deb, CGRE program director for the New York-based organization. “The SLB Multicultural Leaders Program shows how men can be important allies to uplift critical discussions about gender equity and reproductive justice on college campuses.”
The program will dismantle machismo and improve gender equity through workshops and chapter awards.
The workshops will demonstrate to members how men can advocate as allies for reproductive choice in a way that’s not male-centered. Awards will be implemented by local chapters for collegiate and community programming.
“Sigma Lambda Beta wants to socialize the men of our fraternity differently. We are acutely aware of the stereotypes and assumptions associated with both fraternity men and Latino males when it comes to gender equity and reproductive rights,” said executive board member Jason Smolka. “This grant will help us continue the work we’ve been doing to break down stereotypes and increase the agency and autonomy of our members.”
The fraternity will kick off its leadership program in Arlington, Texas, this July.
“We see the SLB Multicultural Leaders Program as a way to not only address the needs of the members of the fraternity, but to also impact the larger Latino community by changing the hearts and minds of the next generation of Latino and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) leaders,” said Rie Zamudio, chair of the board of trustees for the fraternity’s education foundation.
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