The Center for Gender Equity wrapped up their celebration of Women’s History Month on March 30 with a discussion on women in the work force held the Forest Grove Library. Although this was one of many events that CGE hosted throughout March, director Martha Rampton, is looking not at the past, but the future. She hopes that CGE’s celebration of Women’s History Month will draw a greater audience next year.
CGE followed this year’s national theme for Women’s History Month, which was, “Our history is our strength,” and as a result, Rampton feels that the events were not “really unique to Pacific.” In order to change this in the future, Rampton said that collaboration amongst departments would be crucial to show relativity between students and the diverse experiences of historical women.
For example, last year faculty dressed up as influential female figures, and sat at tables in the U.C. while students asked questions to uncover who the faculty member was representing. Rampton said that discussions like this with students rather than lectures make the learning process fun. It is important to show students “how important women have been to history and that hasn’t changed.”
Bringing back those old ideas and accompanying them with new ones used this year could make Women’s History Month better known around campus, said Rampton. A week-long event that she hopes will return, is this year’s Oath Drive for Human Trafficking held in the U.C. Rampton stresses that human trafficking has been a great concern for women not only in the past, but also the present.
The past-present relationship was also the focus of CGE’s discussion at the 30th annual Lewis and Clark Gender Symposium. CGE students Katrina Lungren, Kayla Johnston, Chris Palmer and Victoria Saucedo represented Pacific at the symposium to share CGE’s goals for the past, present and future of women’s history. More specifically, Rampton said the goal for the future is to “not focus on women, but gender in general.”
The campus library also found their own way to pay tribute women’s impact on society. A display was set up on the second floor of the library in which members of the Pacific community were encouraged to bring both a picture and brief biography of a woman who has inspired them. The biographies on display were not only diverse in time period, but also in what the women did for their professions and society. The choices ranged from Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart and Joan of Arc, to more modern women such as J.K. Rowling.
Accompanying the wall of mini biographies was a selection of different literatures chosen by the library staff. Along the table were books about Billie Holiday and Marie Curie, as well as CDs by Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.
Looking at how Women’s History Month was celebrated this year, Rampton said she feels that the celebration has “sort of lost steam.” In the past, not only the library, but also the art gallery teamed up with CGE to devote their current displays to women’s history. Rampton insisted that these measures are still very much necessary because the goals of Women’s History Month “have not yet been achieved.” She said that as a culture, we are not yet at the point of questioning why it needs to be celebrated at all.