Women's Center 40th Banner

Women's History Brown Bag Series

Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worth less. - Myra Pollack Sadker

History helps us learn who we are, but when we don’t know our own history, our power and dreams are immediately diminished. Recognizing the achievements of women in all facets of life—science, community, government, literature, art, sports, medicine—has a huge impact on the development of self-respect and new opportunities for girls and young women. There is a critical link between knowing about historical women and making a positive difference in today’s world.

Uncovering stories about our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers help us better understand their lives, the challenges they faced, and ultimately, ourselves and our own times. Recognizing the dignity and accomplishments of women in our own families and those from other backgrounds leads to higher self-esteem among girls, and greater respect among boys and men. The results can be remarkable, from greater achievement by girls in school, to less violence against women, and more stable and cooperative communities.

The impact of women’s history might seem abstract to some, and less pressing than the immediate struggles of working women today. But to ignore the vital role that women’s dreams and accomplishments play in our own lives would be a great mistake. We draw strength and inspiration from those who came before us—and those remarkable women working among us today. They are part of our story, and a truly balanced and inclusive history recognizes how important women have always been in society. 
                        Adapted and reprinted with permission from the National Women’s History Project website


August 29: “Why Feminism Still Matters

Most young women in our society today live by feminism’s goals, enjoying the rights and privileges this movement has afforded them. Yet often, they distance or disassociate themselves from the “other F-word.” To kick off our first brown bag program of the semester, a panel of U-Idaho faculty members presented current research on women and society:

  • Sandra Reineke, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science and Women's Studies: “Why Feminism Still Matters”
  • Ryanne Pilgeram, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology: “Women and Work”
  • Maggie Rehm, Ph.D., Lecturer, Women's Studies: “Bodies and Backlash”

Moderated by Victoria Arthur, Ph.D., Lecturer, English.

September 26: “If These Walls Could Talk: Gender Equity at the University of Idaho”

The University of Idaho Women’s Center was founded at the height of the second wave of the women's movement, a time when gender discrimination and inequality was rampant across the nation. We put together a dynamic panel to showcase the fascinating reminiscences of those who were actively involved in the creation and support of the Women’s Center in its early days. Our panelists talked about what life was like on campus for women in the 1970s, and presented information about the current status and climate for professional women at the University of Idaho. Presenters included:

  • Jama Sebald, retired U-Idaho staff member and former chair of the U-Idaho Women’s Caucus
  • Barb Petura, former VP of Communications at WSU and Conciliation Agreement signer
  • Dr. Traci Craig, chair of the Psychology & Communication Studies Dept.

Moderator: Kay Keskinen, retired U-Idaho staff member and long-time supporter and advisor of the Women's Center.

October 31: “Title IX and the History of U-Idaho Women's Athletics”

2012 marked the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This ground-breaking legislation mandated equal opportunity for females and males in all areas of federally-funded education. One of its greatest impacts is in the arena of intercollegiate athletics.

This panel explored the history of Title IX at U-Idaho over the past 40 years, and how Title IX has shaped and expanded athletic opportunities, quality competition, funding, and public interest. Also discussed were the many challenges and struggles related to the implementation of Title IX, and ongoing issues that still exist 40 years later.

Female U-Idaho student-athletes who competed over the past four decades shared their stories of disappointment and triumph, and several administrators and coaches also shared details of their successes and concerns. The accomplishments achieved by the many dedicated female student-athletes, coaches, and athletics staff at the University of Idaho are truly amazing. If you missed this historic panel, contact the Women's Center to view a video recording of the program!
  • Introduction/explanation of Title IX – Ryanne Pilgeram, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, UI Sociology and Anthropology Department
  • Moderator – Kathy Aiken, Dean of CLASS
  • Kathy Clark, first Director of Athletics for UI Women’s Athletics
  • Nancy (Westermeyer) Monroe – Four-time AIAW national qualifier for UI swimming and diving 1971-75 and first female recipient of an athletic scholarship.
  • Robin (Behrens) Barnes – starting guard for 1985-86 UI women’s basketball WNIT championship team; received All-MWAC honors that year on team that still holds school shooting percentage record of 53.8.
  • Angela Whyte – holds UI’s Track & Field record for most points scored (men or women) in conference meets and holds 13 school records (hurdles, sprints, relays).  Competed in 2004 and 2008 Olympics for her native country Canada, finishing sixth in the 100m hurdles in 2004.

November 27: "An Indigenous Feminist Perspective"

The mainstream feminist movement has often been criticized for prioritizing White women’s concerns and cultural frameworks. This program engaged attendees in a discussion of the unique political and social positions of Indigenous women. We explored how Indigenous women might engage with crucial issues of identity, their nations, and colonization/decolonization.

Presenter: Stephanie J. Waterman, Onondaga, Turtle Clan, is an assistant professor at the Warner Graduate School of Education & Human Development at the University of Rochester in the Educational Leadership, Higher Education Department. She researches Native American college experiences, the interaction between university staff and students, and student transition. Dr. Waterman serves on her community’s education committee, and is co-chair of the NASPA Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community Research & Scholarship Committee. In addition to other national and local Native American educational organizations, she serves on the Rochester Native American Advisory Council. She is a proud aksodahah (grandmother).