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Abby Palko

August 16, 2017

Abby Palko at the Women's Center

At the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center, we develop strong women leaders and those who work beside them, ready to face the real and daunting challenges of building the public good and ensuring justice for all. These are words we use often, but not lightly. They are the heart of what we, as a public university, are called to do. We shape the next generation of leaders. These are the ideals we pursue with you.

To our new and returning students:

August 08, 2017

Palko POV

Expecting parents field a lot of questions, but none more often than this one. This question reveals how deeply embedded gender is in our social interactions. It is also indicative of an overly simple understanding of sex and gender identity. 

A number of complex biological factors interact to determine and signal a person’s sex. For most people these dimensions match: 

  • chromosomal make-up (XX or XY genes)

  • the ways that their body has developed (female or male), and 

July 12, 2017

The Pleasures of Reading

A couple of birthdays ago, my husband and daughter gave me a plaque for my office with a quote from Louisa May Alcott: “She is too fond of books and it has turned her brain.” How well they know me! Periodic escape into the world of fiction is one of the activities that keeps me me. For as long as I can remember, reading has been a form of self-care for me. When you live on the academic calendar, as I have my whole life, summer becomes a time to indulge in a love of reading. And when you’re a booklover, people often ask for recommendations. Where to start?

June 07, 2017

Palko POV

This spring here at the Women's Center we were honored and humbled to present Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children and a 1988 Darden graduate, with the University's 2017 Distinguished Alumna Award. With Mother's Day occurring just a couple of weeks later, I was struck by the timeliness of the challenge Carolyn posed to the colleagues and admirers gathered in her honor.

May 01, 2017

Palko POV

We live in a society that does not value mothering (as measured in economic terms).The amazing thing isn’t that it is hard to make all of these pieces fit together in a coherent, sane manner – it’s that anyone manages to do so! Simultaneously, our national ethos of bootstrap independence suggests that success is a wholly personal accomplishment that is achieved with no external supports.

April 07, 2017

Humans tell stories to make sense of life. We like neat analogies.

Boy : blue :: girl : ____. If you reflexively answered "pink," you've probably 1) been prepped for the SAT and 2) been socialized into an American understanding of gender differences (and if you think that analogy has always been so, that's anachronistic.)