Celebrating Women’s History Month

Simpson College shared these photos on social media to celebrate International Womens Day.

Submitted to the Simpsonian

Simpson College shared these photos on social media to celebrate International Women’s Day.

by Kyle Werner, Feature Editor

Women’s History Month started as Women’s History Week with the proclamation of former President Jimmy Carter in 1980. This dubbed the week of March 8 Women’s History Week and, for seven years, it stuck.

Then, in 1987, the National Women’s History Project petitioned for it to expand to the entire month of March, prompting Congress to pass Pub. L. 100-9, officially designating the month of March as Women’s history month. 

Every year since the passing of 100-9, the sitting President issues an annual proclamation of celebration. 

According to womenshistorymonth.gov, these “proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.” 

We should celebrate the women who have fought and continue to fight for equality for women. We should celebrate women breaking the glass ceiling in their fields,” the Director of the First-Year Experience and Community Engagement Tayler Keitzer said.

Women have faced an uphill battle throughout history, and it was only in the past century that any sort of gender equality has been integrated. 

Women’s History Month highlights the accomplishments made despite the harsh reality of sexism ingrained in society.

To me, Women’s History Month serves as a dedicated time to recognize those who have made positive and influential changes to society in every discipline we see here on campus and beyond, while also exploring the ways in which equality and equity have not fully been achieved and how contributions made have not fully been recognized,” Assistant Professor of Political Science Adrienne Gathman said. “It is important because it provides a space for the recognition of growth and the continued need for it.”

Simpson highlighted the achievements and efforts made in the name of gender equality this month, promoting a Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) campaign, calling attention to women in E-Sports and spotlighting women in leadership on campus. 

The world of gaming is highly controlled by men, as is the Esports team here at Simpson. 

Sophomore Emma Van Aernam is among five Simpson women breaking barriers in the gaming world.

“Sometimes it’s hard being the only woman [on Valorant B-team], but it’s also nice, because I can be that one other person that helps women feel welcome,”  Van Aernam said. “It was a big step joining the team, knowing I would be the only woman on my team, but the boys didn’t make me feel singled out at all. All of the teams are so welcoming, and everyone is so nice.” 

Simpson broke gendered barriers in Division III sports this year, adding women’s wrestling to the list of winter sports offered here at Simpson. 

Sophomore Kylie Rae Torres is proud to be part of the ground-breaking women’s wrestling team. 

Being a part of the women’s wrestling team has honestly been the best decision I have ever made,” Torres said. “I have made so many friends and have built great connections with people I have wrestled [and] come across.”

First-year Jenna Joseph shares the sentiment. “I am thrilled to see what the future holds for this team and what accomplishments we will achieve next year with all of the new women joining us. Being a part of this team also allowed me to prove that wrestling isn’t just for men anymore,” she said.

The world of STEM is also strongly male-dominated. There are few women given recognition for the work they have done in the field. 

“During undergrad years and during masters and even to the extent of your Ph.D. and postdoctoral years, you will find a lot of women in the workforce in STEM, and you won’t necessarily see a difference in the percentage of women versus men. If anything, you might actually see way more women in biology, for example,” Assistant Professor of Biology, Dr. Aswati Subramanian said. “Compared to men, however, the higher up you go in the ladder, you see less and less representation.”

During Women’s History Month, the theatre fraternity, Alpha Psi Omega, puts on “Women’s Piece.” 

“It’s a chance to showcase topics, songs, art, plays, poems and basically anything created by a woman or about women,” senior Mollie Hinkle said. “This year, we had presentations about significant women, women in media and performances of songs and poems by and about women.” 

Women’s History Month is a time to highlight women who have done extraordinary things that have been glossed over in history. Women impact our daily lives, and it is essential that their contributions are recognized to the fullest. 

“Women’s history month is a great time to revel in how amazing women are and can be,” Hinkle said. 

It is important to celebrate Women’s History Month, but we shouldn’t only celebrate women and their accomplishments during the month of March.

“While Women’s History Month serves as a time for specialized and specific programming on the gains women have made in history, I think it is important for everyone to recognize that women’s history should not be limited to celebration in only this month,” Gathman said. “Instead, all should work throughout the year to celebrate the wins and challenges the losses in equal treatment and opportunity around the world today.”