Women’s History Month

Sean Kennedy

Sean Kennedy

Mothers toil their whole lives to make sure their children have a better life.

Few can deny the impact that some woman has had an impact on their lives, for without women, the rest of population would not be here.

The cold, windy, blistery, snowy month of March has been designated as Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the cultural impact that women have had on society.

Women’s issues have been on the board at SDSU in the Woman’s Studies Department since 2000,. under the direction of Dr. April Brooks, professor of history and director of the Women’s Studies Department.

Studying the impact of women on history is very important for Brooks.

The importance of studying women’s history is summed up in the Women’s Studies Program and Quest for Equity’s motto, Brooks said.

“Women hold up half the sky…”

“For too long only half of the history has been told,” she said.

According to Brooks and Mary Perpich, a professor of journalism and a committee member with the Women’s Studies Program, history has focused too much on only what men have contributed. They said that it is also important to recognize the contributions of women to the advancement of society.

Women’s History Month is an important step in recognizing these contributions.

“I wish that we didn’t have to have a separate month,” Perpich said, “but that’s the way it works.”

Perpich said she would like to see the contributions of women integrated into the regular curriculum of all classes. However she does not see that happening any time soon.

Both Brooks and Perpich are outspoken supporters of women’s rights and the need to acknowledge women’s impact on history.

The theme for this year’s events is Women in Arts, with events ranging from button shows to a one woman show about women and the impact they have had on a variety of spheres.

Funding for Women’s History Month programs comes from Quest for Equity, which organizes the events and is coordinated by Brooks.

Funding for the events is pulled together by university vice-president Carol Peterson, Brooks said.

“We get as many issues as we have money for,” Brooks said.

Events are scheduled throughout the month of March to celebrate the heritage and cultural achievements of women.

According the Brooks, the most important event of the month is the Women of Distinction Awards, March 25 at 3 p.m. in NFA 232..

All honorees are selected from the campus population.

Winners are selected from four different categories: administration, faculty, students and career service/exempt. The winners are chosen from a list of solicited nominations. This year the committee had about 20 nominations.

According to Brooks, each of these women have to meet one or more of three criteria to win. They must have advanced the cause of women on campus, achieved success in their discipline or overcome obstacles.

This year’s winners are Dr. Virginia Norris, professor and head of the psychology department, and former head of the Women’s Studies department; Dr. Diana Rickerl, professor of Plant Science; Kara Christensen, editor-in-chief of the Collegian; and Jan Evans, secretary for the Dean of Arts and Sciences.

Every woman who was nominated is also recognized at the ceremony.

Other events planned for the month include a panel discussion of women behind the arts at 4 p.m. March 12 at the South Dakota Art Museum, and a reception of Mel Spinar’s paintings of Bohemian women’s myths and legends at 4 p.m. March 20 in room 244 at Briggs Library.

Events that have already passed included a concert, a study of the impact of women on music and a display of buttons from the Dona Brown Collection.

“Women in the Arts” showcases created by students in Brooks’ Women in History class are also on display all month in Briggs Library and the Brookings Public Library.

Though this month has been set aside for the appreciation of women’s contributions to history, Perpich said she would like to see the accomplishments of women acknowledged all year round.

E-mail Sean Kennedy at [email protected].