Sherrell Wigal, a poet from Parkersburg, West Virginia, addresses the crowd during “Women Speak,” an event of the Women of Appalachia Project held at Ohio University Southern.

Sherrell Wigal, a poet from Parkersburg, West Virginia, addresses the crowd during “Women Speak,” an event of the Women of Appalachia Project held at Ohio University Southern.

Photographer: Rachael Layne

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Ohio University Southern hosts Women of Appalachia Project ‘Women Speak’ event


IRONTON, Ohio – Fourteen female writers shared their essays and poetry as part of “Women Speak,” an event of the Women of Appalachia Project Friday in the Mains Rotunda of Ohio University Southern. The juried writers represent a diverse convening of women from Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia. 
 
Kari Gunter-Seymour founded the Women of Appalachia Project out of frustration with the negative stereotype of the Appalachian woman as substandard, uneducated and incapable. In 2009, she set out to dispel the discrimination she and countless others had experienced firsthand.

“If you are from Appalachia, you grow to realize early on, that many people have an image of an Appalachian woman, and they look down on her,” Gunter-Seymour said.

Gunter-Seymour encouraged participation from women artists of diverse backgrounds, ages and experiences to come together, embracing the stereotype, to show the whole woman; beyond the superficial factors that people use to judge her. 

Hosting the Woman of Appalachia Project promotes culture and Appalachian heritage, said Dr. Nicole Pennington, dean of Ohio University Southern. “I am pleased to host the Women Speak event, celebrating the poetry and stories written by these exceptional Appalachian women writers,” Pennington said. 

The Southern Campus will host the Ninth Annual “Women Speak” and fine arts exhibit in October. 

For more information about this and similar events at Ohio University Southern, visit https://www.ohio.edu/southern/events/diversity-events.cfm. For details about the Women of Appalachia Project, visit online at http://www.womenofappalachia.com/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WomenofAppalachia/.