Activities continue with Visionary Women lecture 12:15-1:30 p.m. March 19.
By Michael Smith
Women’s History Month kicked off March 5 with the “Herstory! Pop-Up exhibit,” an exhibit that showcased feminists in American history.
Dr. Amelia Serafine, history instructor and chair of the Women’s History Committee, along with a HIST 1302, United States History 2, class, created the exhibit.
There were 44 illustrations in total with 26 of them being created by history freshman Jim Ward.
The poster exhibit featured photographs and biographies of iconic women who spent their lives obtaining recognition left out of history books.
Ward’s illustrations consisted of short biographies of Ida B. Wells, early leader in the civil rights movement; Josephine Baker, entertainer and activist; and Jackie Shane, singer and transgender pioneer.
The remaining 18 posters were created by various students along with a few students from Travis Early College High School.
History freshman Sophia Ostrowski created a poster about the Soviet Night Witches, who were female members of the Soviet army during World War II who flew harassment and precision bombings into German territory from 1941-1945.
Ostrowski spoke on why she chose to showcase the Soviet Night Witches.
“It is unseen,” she said. “These women completed over 30,000 missions against Nazis. They indeed need to get the credit they deserve.”
Cyber-security sophomore Fernando Rodriguez, who served in the Navy for four years and is in the reserves, said learning this information was important.
“It is great information that I did not know about,” he said. “These women (Soviet Night Witches), stood out to me so much because being in the military myself I personally had no idea there were women pilots in the 1940s.”
History freshman Gabby Jimenez created a poster titled “How Japanese Girls Invented Cute Culture,” which showcased the creation of Japanese animated cartoons that are known globally, such as the character Pikachu from the series “Pokemon” and “Hello Kitty.”
“Most people don’t know that it (anime culture) started in the late 1970s from teenage women in Japan revolting against men,” Jimenez said. “Someone needs to teach them.”
Fine arts freshman Lilliana Guerra created a poster titled “Roller Derby,” which was a compilation of women athletes who competed as far back as 1935.
It featured skaters such as Louise Thomas, Elizabeth “Libby” Hoover, Pudge Dyer, Jane Cummings and Mildred Arndt.
Guerra said why it was important to created this artwork.
“When you look at women’s sports like football, they have to sex themselves up by playing almost naked,” she said. “People think women sports are boring but that’s not the case.”
Jimenez said men are often credited for work that women put in.
“People do not even know that Rosalind Franklin was the inventor of the double helix of DNA,” she said.
She said the internet and history books credit the invention to two males, James Watson and Francis Clark.
Dr. Suraya Khan, history professor, spoke on why it is important for anyone to know about the importance of women’s history.
“It is important because it is simple amazing,” she said. “Learning of all the obstacles and struggles women have been through is a great way of showing that women have been making history all along.
“Many people today are unaware of the impact women played in some of the most important events and creations in history,” Khan said.
English sophomore Sonia Beatrice agreed women’s history is important.
“Growing up reading history, you hardly ever hear about what women do but always heard about what the men did,” she said. “Across the globe, women have done so many things that a lot of people do not know about.”
Ostrowski gave a short and brief statement on gender roles and said they are absurd.
“Personally, I think it is absolutely ridiculous,” she said. “Women have shown that they can do anything men can. It is the year 2019, get with the times.”
However, Beatrice said she feels joy to witness the perspective of younger generations regarding gender roles.
“A lot of people in my age group still think the same way,” she said. “It is refreshing to see that the younger generation is changing for the better.”
Women have also been in politics much longer than people know.
Jeannette Rankin made history in 1917 by being the first women to be elected by Congress in 1916 and re-elected again in 1940. She remains the only woman to be elected to congress by Montana.
“In terms of office we always hear about our Founding Fathers, but not the women who fought to be in an office,” Beatrice said.
Ostrowski believes that women have not received their share of credit in history.
“All of these women need to be praised for what they have done,” she said. “All of them.”
Upcoming events include the Visionary Women Lecture 12:15-1:30 p.m. and “A Strike and an Uprising!” 10:50 a.m.-12:05 p.m. March 19 in Room 208 of the nursing and allied health complex.