University of La Verne
honors women this month

Posted March 16, 2007

This month women are getting special recognition because March is Woman’s Heritage Month.

Initially, Women’s Heritage was honored in a week-long celebration, which first began in 1978 in Sonoma County, Calif.

Nine years later Congress turned the week-long celebration into a month-long event.

Women’s Heritage Month is a time to reflect on women’s history and honor the contributions of women, past and present, who may or may not have received proper recognition for their contributions.

“The emphasis is on women’s intellect, courage, strength, wisdom, and the fact that women have shaped history,” said Zandra Wagoner, chairwoman of women, gender and sexuality studies.

During this month, observers honor the contributions that women such as Sandra Day O’Connor, Clara Barton, Madeleine Albright, and Janet Reno have made to our society.

It is also a time to reflect on the struggles women have endured, and the continued fight for equal rights.

Women’s Heritage Month 2007 includes ceremonies, celebrations, lectures and other events and activities across the nation.

At La Verne, among the many events to honor women’s history, the Campus Activities Board is sponsoring two:

The “Reel Women” event will be held on Monday, and “Ladies Night” will be held on Wednesday.

And the Women Gender and Sexuality Studies program is sponsoring the third annual “Engendering Diversity and Community” conference Wednesday through Friday.

“I think it’s great,” said Cathy Irwin, assistant professor of English. “I think a woman’s work is largely marginalized, sometimes it’s invisible.”
Others agree.

“I think it’s important to have a month devoted to celebrating women’s history because so much of general history focuses on men,” said Erin Gratz, assistant librarian.

Understandably, some feel that March should not be the only month that women are honored.

“The fear is that Women’s Heritage Month will be felt like a Mother’s Day, where we feel sentimental towards women. I don’t want Women’s Month to feel like a Mother’s Day,” Wagoner said.

She added that honoring women should be continuous and not just for a set period of time. To Wagoner the celebration is both a positive and a sad occasion.

“It’s also a sad history of exclusion. The fact that we have these designated months points to the exclusion of various groups,” said Wagoner.

Hilda Ann Venegas can be reached at

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