Why Its So Important to Advocate for Women in Humanities

I am all for supporting women in wherever their aspirations lie.

As a journalism major pursuing a Spanish minor, I feel that there is more of a focus on encouraging women to become involved in the STEM fields. This is wonderful, and as a feminist, I agree that it is a glass ceiling that still needs to be broken. But consider this: Who do you think of when you think of accomplished historians? Mostly old, white men. Classic authors? Them, too (hey, Shakespeare and Dickens). Classical composers? Almost all of them are men (Thanks a lot, Mozart and Bach). Artists, too (Monet and Van Gogh, don’t think I forgot you). And the executive editors of many major newspapers are still, to this day, male. 

Part of feminism is supporting and empowering women to pursue whatever career or aspiration they choose. I think it is hugely problematic that women are either not encouraged to go into the humanities, or are overwhelmingly criticized when they choose to take that route. 

For example, “all of Taylor Swift’s songs are about ex-boyfriends,” or even the fact that many romantic books are dubbed “chick lit.” Yet the content of Ed Sheeran’s songs and Nicholas Sparks’ novels also vastly focuses on love without receiving any sort of stigma. Through their creative voices, women in the humanities can advocate for feminism. The more women who go into the humanities, the more opportunities there will be to improve and advance equality.

Also, I strongly feel that contributions to and careers in the humanities are not as valued as they should be. As it is 2017, science and technology are more important than ever, continuing to develop, change, and improve our society. Although these advances are wonderful, the humanities connect us to others and help us remember how far our world has come. Studying history allows us to discover where we came from and to prevent the repetition of the past; art provides an outlet for emotions and a universal language. Though skills and talent can be found in anyone, women have been historically underrepresented in the humanities and this needs to change. 

In this time of increasing and developing technology, it is important not to lose what makes our culture great, and there are so many intelligent and creative women out there who can contribute to the preservation of literature, music, art, and history.