Women’s History Month continues with awareness presentations

By Karlee Dies
News Editor/Spectator

Did you know that women outnumber men in higher education, but as recently as 2011, men with bachelor’s degrees made more than women with master’s degrees? Were you aware that two-thirds of American women are either the primary or breadwinners of their families? Did you know that for every dollar a man makes, a woman only makes 78 cents?

Women as a whole have been fighting for years to become equal, to be acknowledged and to be recognized for their respective hard work.

Women’s History Month is a month set to highlight the contributions women have made to certain events in history, as well as the society as a whole. The designated month-long celebration originated in 1981 when Congress proposed the week of March 7 as “Women’s History Week” upon approval from the president.  It wasn’t until 1995 that the Women’s History Month became an annual celebration.

Women’s History Month kicks off every March here at Edinboro University. The women’s studies committee organized the first set of events in March of 1996. The committee consists of faculty, staff, students and volunteer members of the community.

A big part of the celebration is the annual Women’s History Month events, which is organized by the women’s history subcommittee and will include High School Day, where high schools in the surrounding areas are invited to bring their students to the presentations by Edinboro faculty. All events during this month are free and open to everyone.

There will be 18 different presentations given by faculty members, students and guests this year. Topics include social issues like street harassment, women in prison and “Bringing Booty Back in Pop Culture.” Other topics include “Women in Witchcraft,” “Folklore,” and the “Changing Middle East.” Presentations will continue throughout the entire month.

“I view Women’s History Month as an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women past and present. I expect the audience (students, faculty, staff and community members) to all learn about individual women and their accomplishments and to increase their awareness of what women in general have done and continue to do and critically think about issues affecting everyone,” said Dr. Nina Thumser, the chair of the women’s studies committee and women’s history month sub-committee, as well as a professor in the biology and health services department.

“I am grateful for their service in keeping this tradition alive and strong. It reflects Edinboro’s commitment to recognizing and celebrating diversity, whether it be gender, race, ethnicity, physical ability or any other type of diversity, which enriches our campus. Explicitly exploring the contributions of those who for many years were not recognized as being worthy of contributing to our society is also important because it encourages all students to reach for the stars, even if they don’t feel empowered to do so by our society. It’s a message of hope and the value of striving against barriers,” Edinboro University President Julie Wollman said.

Students are encouraged to check out all that the women’s history month committee has to offer. Below is a schedule of the remaining events throughout the month of March along with a description provided by the committee’s brochure.

Thursday, March 19, 2-3 p.m.

Frank G. Pogue Student Center, Seminar Room 143

Rights of Women in a Democratic Society according to John Locke

by Dr. Karen Seubert, English and Philosophy Department

Have women made much progress since the women’s movement of the ‘60s? Women and children remain the largest poverty group in the U.S. This talk gives the main pillars of John Locke’s Democratic Society including his discussion on the rights of women and children. We will see how these rights impact on women today, particularly divorced women, older women and widows.

Monday, March 23, 7-8 p.m.

Frank G. Pogue Student Center, Scot Cinema

Film: Julia Robinson and Hilbert’s Tenth Problem

Presented by the Math & Computer Sciences Department and the Math Club

Julia Robinson was a top mathematician who contributed significantly to the solution of a major problem in 20th century mathematics, including a remarkable collaboration with Russian mathematicians at the height of the Cold War. This one-hour documentary film looks at Robinson’s life and unusual collaboration, gives an accessible overview of the mathematics she worked on, and examines how being a woman affected the way she was received as a mathematician.

Monday, March 23, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Hendricks Hall, Room 226

Pro-Choice But Not Pro-Abortion?

Presented by Dr. Stephen J. Sullivan, English and Philosophy

 In debates on the emotionally charged ethical issue of abortion, it is common to hear members of the pro-choice/ abortion-rights side say something like the following: “I am pro-choice but not pro-abortion.” Often they add that nobody is pro-abortion. In this talk Sullivan will argue — as a supporter of abortion rights — that the latter claim is manifestly false, and that the former claim is more problematic than its defenders seem to recognize. The presentation will focus on fostering an open mindset of the issue’s positions.

Tuesday March 24, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Frank G. Pogue Student Center, Seminar Room 143

Well-Behaved Women Do Make History: Francis Perkins and the Development of Modern Labor Laws

By Dr. Suzanne McDevitt, Social Work Department

Frances Perkins, who today might be described as a Macro Social Worker, began her career as a lobbyist for the Consumer League in the New York State Assembly advocating for reduced hours and increased safety conditions for women working in manufacturing. She was appointed industrial commissioner by Governor Al Smith and secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This presentation will focus on her skills as a manager and advocate.

Wednesday, March 25, 7 p.m.

Cole Auditorium

Heather Arnet and Madame Presidenta Documentary

Presented by the Edinboro University Women’s Philanthropy Council

Madame Presidentá: Why Not U.S.? Chronicles the journey of two women, one from the U.S. and one from Rio de Janeiro, as they explore the key question of why so many other countries have elected female presidents before the United States. In the process they make important is coveries about new democracies, community, and women’s rights. The film is a collaboration of the Women and Girls Foundation of Southwest Pennsylvania, and ELAS: Women’s Social Investment Fund in Rio de Janeiro. Free and open to the public but reservations are encouraged.

Thursday, March 26, 11 a.m. Noon

Frank G. Pogue Student Center, Scot Cinema.

The Strong Women of Harry Potter

By Dr. Corbin Fowler English and Philosophy Department

IIn this film documentary, J.K. Rowling talks about the strong women of her Harry Potter saga, and how she wanted to portray strong women in a variety of ways: young and old, single and married, professional and stay at home mom, hero and villain. She also aimed for a variety of believable female characters in terms of whether they were serious or silly, athletic of not, intellectual or not. Few women have been as creative, ambitious, or have become as famous and wealthy as J.K. Rowling. Following the film, Fowler will invite students to discuss the video.

Thursday, March 26, 11:30- 1:00 p.m.

The University Club Women Who Lunch

Presented by the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, Women’s Philanthropy and Women’s Studies Committee.

For this event, women faculty and staff members are encouraged to “drop in” for lunch at the university club and bring a student to lunch as a way to network and connect to other women on campus, as well as learn about the presenting organizations. Cost for lunch is $6.75 per person.

Karlee Dies is the news editor for the Spectator. She can be reached by eupnews.spectator@gmail.com