Women’s History Month

Audrey Melick

March is Women’s History Month, and the Women’s Studies Program is doing everything it can to bring awareness to Colgate’s campus. Over the past few weeks, the Women’s Studies Center has been hosting a series of brown bag lunches on Tuesdays and discussion forums on Thursdays, both of which will continue throughout the end of the month. Topics have included multicultural feminism, women in politics, women in sports and women in religion.

“Women don’t get enough recognition for the things they do,” senior Audrey Stevens, who works in the Women’s Studies Center in East Hall, said. “This month is an opportunity for us to look back on all that women have done and are doing.”

Today, the Office of Women’s Studies is collaborating with the Chaplains’ Office for a brown bag that will commemorate both Women’s History Month and Faith Week. Entitled “If Men are Running the Show, Why Are Women More Religious?,” the panel discussion will feature women on Colgate’s faculty and staff and will be moderated by University Chaplain and Catholic Campus Minister Mark Shiner. Women’s Studies Assistant Program Director Liz Thompson worked with Associate University Chaplain and Protestant Campus Minister Mark Mann to put together this event.

“I see it as an important and valuable event because it demonstrates the great resources we have in our own community for discussing spirituality and religion,” Thompson said. “Gender operates in people’s everyday lives and activities in such powerful ways, and in this case, has profound effects on how women participate in religious communities. I think first-hand accounts about how being female in spiritual and religious communities affects women right here at Colgate can help people to better understand the connection between these issues.”

This month may be a time to focus upon women’s history, but women’s awareness is a year-round goal of Women’s Studies. Classes, brown bag lunches, and discussion forums are frequently being put together, and the Center is almost always open for students to do homework, relax, or have discussions.

“A lot of people come here during the lunch period,” said Stevens. “The staff is always here, there’s free coffee. I think of it as more of a lounge; people are always around to talk to, like an open forum. If something is ever bothering me, I know I can come here to get it off of my chest.”

Females are not the sole beneficiaries of Women’s Studies, Stevens said. “Believe it or not, men do benefit from this,” she said. “It makes them aware of new things and forces them to learn so much. Men teach us women some things about ourselves as well. We don’t want to alienate people. These issues concern everybody. I mean, we all live in the same world.”

Thompson shared similar views.

“Conversations about gender are often even more fruitful as more people share their perspectives and ideas and people of all genders are welcome to attend events in Women’s Studies,” she said.

The Office of Women’s Studies hopes to wrap up the month with a dinner in early April.