Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Celebrating Women’s History Month

Joshua Grenier

In 1987, the concept of Women’s History Month was born, introducing a designated set of educational, empowering days for women. Many of us can think about at least one woman in our lives or throughout history who has inspired and changed us. Remember women’s history, and continue to recognize and listen to these women. There is still a fight to be fought when it comes to gender discrimination in the workplace, education and society. 

For centuries, patriarchal clutches have restricted women from many opportunities, from voting to receiving an education. Regarding UT Austin’s history, women have always been able to attend since the university’s opening in 1883. From a 26% female attendance in 1883, there is now a 56.3% female population at UT. Recent issues, such as bodily rights and the gender pay gap, are reasons to highlight the women who are fighting for their rights. 

This year is the first time UT is hosting a university-wide Women’s History Month celebration. The event invites performers, speakers and vendors to support and uplift the cause, tailored to the UT community. On Thursday at the Main Mall from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., event-goers can wear purple, symbolizing the fight for gender equality. Regardless of your gender, there is value in listening to a woman’s perspective. Women are mothers, diplomats, scientists, business owners and people who change the world. 

“It’s really just about bringing the community and the campus to focus on and celebrate UT women, and the women who pioneered the way for a lot of UT achievements,” said Daniela Pinedo, events program coordinator for the Division of Campus and Community Engagement. “It’s really important to take time to honor those women.” 

Alongside attending events, consider conversing with women in your life or reading feminist literature. These tangible experiences can inform you in so many ways. After reading Malala Yousafzais’ “I Am Malala” and Saumya Dave’s “Well-Behaved Indian Women,” I learned how to persevere through societal and familial challenges unique to women. Growing up, there was always someone making a casually rude remark directed toward my Indian-American heritage. The casual microaggressions, fake Indian accents and satirization of South Asian women have strengthened me. I’ve learned to challenge it and speak up for the sake of the women around me.

I am privileged to have been surrounded by and educated by many incredible women who have fostered a sense of female solidarity and importance in my life. My mom is someone who I have looked up to my entire life. She is a woman of grace and perseverance. Having a role model who was both a career woman and a “supermom” has inspired me to be a driven journalist, sister, friend and daughter. When you have strong women in your life, they serve as support and inspiration. They encourage you to stand up for yourself and continue the ever-so-important lineage of strong women. 

“Lifting women up is not just for today, not just for tomorrow, but for the future,” said Helen Wormington, executive director of the Division of Campus and Community Engagement. 

According to Wormington, finding female mentors or serving as a mentor can be a great way to uplift the community. Women are significantly more powerful as a unit. Last year, I participated in a women’s business mentorship program and received a lot of advice, not only career-wise but also on navigating life as a woman. I discovered that I have a place in law and finance, mainly male-dominated industries. Women should not only fight for equality in the workplace but also fight to be role models and mentors for impressionable women entering these fields. 

A single-month celebration is important, inviting groups that are generally external to the women’s community to participate and learn about women’s history. For those who don’t identify with the challenges women face, this month spotlights those issues. 

“We stand on the shoulders of our past,” said Wormington. “Women who came before us, some amazing alumni, we will be highlighting them, and we have been highlighting them in the month of March.”

Students should take advantage of the foundation the women of our past laid. Consider immersing yourself and educating yourself, no matter your gender. Women’s history encapsulates the world’s history, so it must be studied and celebrated. 

Shenoy is an economics sophomore from Houston, Texas. 

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