Women’s studies program making improvements at Simpson

Women’s studies program making improvements at Simpson

I would like to thank Jasmynne Sloan for calling for a fuller exploration of women’s issues and the women’s studies minor here at Simpson.

First, Sloan is right that the wages of women sadly compare to men’s and that the difference between women and men’s wages in Iowa are greater than most other places in the United States. The Des Moines Register recently wrote about this. It is also true that in some areas no headway related to wage equity has occurred in the last 30 years and in others the gap is getting much narrower. Women’s issues of equality and oppression, regardless of the population, have not been resolved. It is refreshing to hear a “call to arms” from a student.

I was somewhat discouraged by the comments about the women’s studies program. Currently, I am serving as the director and had I been contacted, I could have offered the most up-to-date information however, most of the information is also available in the college catalog and the 2005-2007 edition is current. In addition a new Web site is being created and will be up and run by fall break and there is a pamphlet ready to go to press. To build awareness, the minor has had an information booth during first-year registration. I know that we talk about the minor a lot during women’s history month.

The Women’s Studies program was started at Simpson in 1994 by committed faculty. The stronger women’s studies programs draw from many disciplines and we have used that model here at Simpson. Currently, the director is housed in sociology but women from English, history, psychology and theater have also been at the helm.

Twenty-five people have graduated with a women’s studies minor and currently there are 12 minors. It would be exciting to see it grow more.

On a more personal note, I would like to offer that the people who helped create the women’s studies program and who have taught in it have been and are highly committed to Simpson and the minor. These people are celebrated teachers and their research, teaching and leadership is often “officially” recognized by the college.

Lora Friedrich,

assistant professor of sociology