Series will honor women, discuss gender history

Kali Lingen

Kali Lingen

Since 1987, March has been deemed Women’s History Month. During March, women are honored across the country, and it is no different at SDSU.

“Women’s History Month is important to celebrate because it signifies a time in our nation’s history when gaining equal rights was very significant,” said Mathew Wuebben, a freshman history major.

He said equal rights are important to women, as well as men.

The Women’s Studies Program sponsors events throughout March to highlight women’s achievements. The events recognize influential women in communities and workplaces, especially women at SDSU.

“The events are by, for and about women,” said April Brooks, head of the History and Political Science Department and the coordinator for the Women’s Studies Program.

The first event, “Women in the Workplace: Then and Now,” was held March 17 and was a panel discussion. The panel included Theresa Hall, department head of Engineering Technology and Management, and Lilias Jarding, a history and political science professor.

“There wasn’t a large turnout, but featured [panel] guest Provost Carol Peterson was sick, which could have been why,” said Brooks. “The event discussed women working in traditionally male-dominated roles.”

The next Women’s History Month event is March 26. Carole Levin is an author and a history professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Levin’s event is titled “Haunting Dreams of Women in Renaissance England.” The event is at 3 p.m. in the Lewis and Clark Room of The Union.

“Carole is phenomenal, hilarious, prolific and an amazing mentor,” said Christine Stewart-Nuñez, who currently works in the English Department but will be the coordinator of the Women’s Studies Program in fall 2009.

Peggie Carlson, author of the memoir The Girls Are Coming, will speak on March 27 at the South Dakota Ag Heritage Museum. The event begins at 7 p.m. This event is not sponsored by the women’s studies program but goes along with the Women’s History Month theme.

Women’s History Month events wrap up on March 31 with the ninth annual Women of Distinction Tea. This event, which will be held in the Lewis and Clark Room of The Union, honors four women on the SDSU campus.

This is the ninth year the Women’s Studies Program has been putting on events during March to honor Women’s History Month. The programming is sponsored partly by the Quest for Equity fund, which was established by Peterson.

“Women’s History Month events helped broaden capabilities for the Quest for Equity fund to reach out to everyone on campus, not just faculty,” said Brooks.

Stewart-Nuñez said she plans on continuing the events next year but possibly spreading them out throughout the year.

“Women’s history stories get lost in history books,” said Stewart-Nuñez. “People need to know how women have contributed in work and the domestic sphere.”

Junior Charla Kachelhoffer said she does not think women live in an equal society.

“We will never live in an equal society until we don’t need Women’s History Month,” the sociology major said.

“Gender is an interesting lens to look at culture and frame events that happen and how gender has influenced events,” said Stewart-Nuñez.

Gary Aguiar, assistant professor of political science, said the events planned add a diversity of offerings for students to participate in.

“Are we only going to celebrate [women] once a year?” Aguiar asked. “They should be celebrated all year long.”