The Southeast Kansas chapter of National Organization for Women (SEK NOW) is currently seeking nominations for their fourth annual Southeast Kansas Wonder Woman Award.
Nominations will be accepted until Dec. 15 and, according to a press release by SEK NOW the nominee should, “self-identify as a feminist and, in some aspect of her life, work on one or more of the organization’s priority issues: reproductive rights and justice, economic justice, ending violence against women, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, and constitutional equality.”
According to Jessena Schultze, SEK NOW treasurer, the award is to serve as a reminder that the feminist movement is “is alive, and it does exist on a small-town level.”
“It’s to recognize small town, grass roots feminism,” Schultze said. “I think a lot of people get caught up in the idea that modern feminism is something that has to be done in a big way, and something that celebrities do, or it’s something that the rich and famous do. When in reality a lot of feminist movements were on the ground, they’re grass roots movements. It’s little people whose names you may not know. We wanted to remind people and recognize people who are participating in that very, very important ground-level feminist movement action.”
A nomination form has to be filled out and can be submitted to SEK NOW (firstname.lastname@example.org), via private message at their Facebook or Instagram accounts, or by mail (SEK NOW, PO Pox 354, Pittsburg, KS 66762). Forms should include the name, phone number, and email address of both the nominee and submitter, and should answer the following question: “Why do you think this nominee deserves recognition as a SEK Wonder Woman? “
Those nominating should be sure explain how the nominee is working on one or more of the priority issues listed above.
According to Schultze, how the nominee practices her feminism can vary.
“I think a lot of people consider that feminist work and activist work doesn’t always have to be formalized… it can be very on the ground practice,” Schultze said. “It’s up to the people who nominate them, we’ve had winners who were very much involved in a formalized organization… but first winner had more of a diffused form of feminist work, so she was feminist through a lot of her community action, it wasn’t necessarily something with one specific organization. It depends on how you want to approach your feminism activism and your feminist work, that’s different for every person and we respect all sorts of different approaches. You can be a feminist in a variety of different ways…”
The recipient of the 2020 Wonder Woman Award will be honored in January and will be decided after a group vote by members of SEK NOW.
“We vote as a group, so any paid-up member who attends the meeting can vote on the winner,” Schultze said. “We always discuss as a group then cast a group vote. Each applicant has merits and each winner has merits, so it can be a hard choice, but we’ve never received a nominee that would be undeserving of the award.”
The winner will receive $200 to donate to any charity of her choice.
“We wanted the award to be something that the recipient could further their feminist work through,” Schultze said. “It’s another way to keep their feminist project going without extra effort on their part, we’ll do it for them with the donation.”
Overall, according to their press release, the award is meant to “honor a local woman who works to uphold feminist ideals.”
“There is a fairly activist movement in the four-state area, and they deserve credit too,” Schultze said. “We want to remind people there is feminist movement in their area.”