“As Americans, ours is a legacy of bold independence and passionate belief in fairness and justice for all. For generations, this intrepid spirit has driven women pioneers to challenge injustices and shatter ceilings in pursuit of full and enduring equality. During Women’s History Month, we commemorate their struggles, celebrate centuries of progress, and reaffirm our steadfast commitment to the rights, security, and dignity of women in America and around the world.” — President Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation – March 1, 2012.
Women’s History Month first became a national celebration in March 1982, originally designated as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987, the National Women’s History Project petitioned for a full month dedicated to women’s history and since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama have issued annual proclamations naming the month of March as Women’s History Month.
This year’s Women’s History Month theme is “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment.” The biggest stride made for women in American education is Title IX of the Education Codes of the Higher Education Act Amendments. Passed in 1972 and put into action in 1977, this law states that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
The National Organization for Women (NOW) has studied the impact of Title IX on education and athletics, and found that in 1972, women earned 7% of all law degrees and 9% of all medical degrees. By the year 2000, women earned nearly half of all doctoral degrees. In athletics, before Title IX, one in 27 women played high school varsity sports, and by the year 2001, one in 2.5 women did. However, there is still much progress to be made, as women remain underrepresented in traditionally male fields and recieve fewer scholarships and lower budgets than their male counterparts in sports.
There is a rich variety of women’s athletic teams here at GPC including women’s basketball, women’s soccer, and women’s tennis. The women’s basketball team has recently announced that they are headed to the national tournament for the sixth time in eight years! The tournament will be aired March 20th-March 24th in Salina, Kansas and video will broadcasted online. For more information, visit the GPC Athletics homepage and click on “Game Webcasts.”
In honor of Women’s History Month, Clarkston Campus Inter-Club Council Committee is holding a luncheon for “Women on the Rise,” which will be held March 21st from 2:30 – 4:30pm. For more information please contact Martaya Hopkins. You also can find more information on Title IX and Women’s History at GPC Libraries.
– Sheeji Kathuria
Photo credit: Kymberly Janisch, used under Creative Commons licensing.