This Women’s History Month, the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) wants to give Lobo women the tools to help themselves all year.
As part of a jam-packed series of events for this historic month, the WRC shifted their focus from celebration to self-reflection for Women in STEM.
That’s why the center partnered with Advancing Women in STEM to invite Jessica Tsae-Ni Lin to campus on Thursday, March 9 as part of its “Prioritizing Yourself” event. Lin is a holistic health expert, bringing 15 years of experience to science, engineering, and other STEM-based learners.
As someone who identifies as a queer and disabled woman of color and child of immigrants, Lin believes inclusion is key when it comes to the body and mind.
“I want to show students and staff that wellness is for everyone, including those historically marginalized. It’s my honor and hope to instill people with tools they can access on their own, in their daily lives,” she said.
Lin leads a wide variety of workshops. Topics range from Asian-American issues, LGBTQ+ mental health, to disability visibility. All of these open spaces for discussion also include methods for healing, including yoga and meditation.
At UNM, Lin hosted a decolonized and body inclusive wellness workshop. The gentle practice highlighted meditation, breathwork, and journaling in community.
“We were excited to create this workshop with Jess for our students because we love sharing decolonized yoga practices centering Asian-American voices, and encouraging Women in STEM to prioritize their wellness,” WRC Interim Director Áine McCarthy said.
It’s a need for all women, especially women in STEM. A 2022 Metlife study found 32 percent of women working in STEM want to leave the workforce over stress and burnout. That compares to just 12 percent of women working in other fields.
“Women in STEM deserve support and care! We know all gender-marginalized folx working hard to succeed in male-dominated fields suffer invisible stress in addition to academic pressure,” McCarthy said. “Marginalization takes many forms from explicit sexual harassment and abuse to lack of mentorship, encouragement and representation in STEM disciplines.”
Another study found Women in STEM fields are more likely to suffer from depression than men are.
“Many women in STEM work diligently every day in pursuit of success, sometimes at the expense of their own mental health and wellbeing. As an organization, we wanted to host an event that would allow our members to focus on themselves and their health, even if just for an hour,” Advancing Women in STEM Co-President Sarah Rysanek said.
Decolonizing wellness is especially important for women of color. This method focuses on reclaiming worldwide religious and cultural wellness practices that have been appropriated or forgotten, and making it accessible for everyone.