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ISSUE 121 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/14/2008

Month showcases women's work

By Elizabeth Mitchell
Associate Editor


Friday, March 14, 2008

March is Women's History Month, and interested St. Olaf students will find a variety of events to attend continuing all throughout March and then on into the first week of April following spring break. The events began March 5, with an afternoon discussion of Nancy Drew as an inspiration to girls, an event which will be repeated on March 14. It was followed by a letter-writing campaign by Amnesty International dealing with sexual assault and rape of women in Native American communities. Thursday, March 6, St. Olaf hosted Jeanine Basinger, trustee of the American Film Institute and author of "The Star Machine."

The following day, music students gave a piano recital of music by women composers. On Sunday, students returning from studying abroad discussed their own encounters with gender relations in other cultures.

On Tuesday Kathy Tezla, the president of the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, was the guest speaker at the PAC dinner; following her speech, former PAC chair Laura Groggel talked about women in politics.

On Wednesday, Chinese feminist scholar Ai Xiaoming presented her documentary on the Vagina Monologues in China.

This Thursday, the work of female composer Amy Beach was both honored and premiered by St. Olaf Music Department faculty members Kathryn Ananda-Owens (piano), Alison Feldt (soprano), David Carter (cello), Christopher Atzinger (piano) and Carleton professor Hector Valdivia (violin). That evening, at 7 p.m., member of the Environmental Coalition discussed Ecofeminism -- both what it is and how it has evolved.

Concluding the events before spring break, on March 17, at 7:30 p.m., Hannah Bolt '08 will share the findings of her Interim independent study project, the research of past and present female composers of love songs.

Following spring break, the Women's History Month events continue with a women's poetry night at the Gender and Sexuality Center, and on April 8, Progressive Christian Fellowship will hold a discussion of women's emerging roles in the church, including women's personal stories and their decisions and journeys towards achieving ordination.

In addition to all of these events, P.I.C.A.S.S.O. house created a mural about women's history, soon to be hanging in the Lion's Lair.

Katherine Oyster '08, co-coordinator for Feminists for Change, said that this year's Women's History Month at St. Olaf "brings together women across many disciplines and departments on campus. While organized primarily by the Women's Studies Department and FFC (Feminists for Change), so many people from all corners of this campus are contributing, which is wonderful."

Oyster also stressed what she sees as the continued importance of Women's History Month. "If you look in most of the history textbooks we still use, there is usually a token paragraph or page of a chapter devoted to women's roles in that time period. Women have a rich history that, up until recently, has been outright ignored, and Women's History Month aims to correct that imbalance."

However, when discussing the St. Olaf community, she said, "I think that the breadth of events this year signifies that, at least on the St. Olaf campus, we are making headway towards acknowledging and respecting women's history,"

For students interested in getting more involved in women's issues and feminism on campus, Feminists for Change will be continuing regular group meetings after the conclusion of Women's History Month. Its co-coordinators are Katie Greene, Kirstine Foster and Oyster.





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