This year we celebrate 100 years of female students at William and Mary. It all began with 24 female students in 1918 who, upon coming to this university, greatly changed the culture of the college for the better. The women had many difficulties navigating the college and partaking in events, as the majority opinion at that time was not favorable to the female gender. They worked diligently and passionately to make their marks on the college, striving to prove the point of gender equality, which they did with grace and respect. With their efforts, they were able to add even more credibility to the Women’s Suffrage Movement, which was nationally established in 1920.
And what a fantastic time to commemorate this moment in history of gender equality by celebrating the first female president of the university, Katherine Rowe! With her elected position, she plans to help the university think and move forward, with innovative ideas and new plans. There are still many biases towards gender equality that must be addressed, however, and not just for women. Hopefully, under the guidance of our new president, we can discuss these topics and help broaden the minds of the William and Mary community.
Furthermore, one hundred years is not that long of a time, historically speaking, to have had such a monumental and, at that time, controversial change. Even after the first 24 women, there were others who walked in the same shoes, who dealt with the same difficulties that arose when it was their turn to work for their education. The stories of women here at William and Mary need to be heard, so people can at least try to comprehend what women, then and now, went through in higher education. In the upcoming October weeks, William and Mary will have several events on Narrating Herstory: Oral Histories Commemorating 100 Years of Coeducation at W&M. This free event will “commemorate, celebrate, and explore” the journeys of women here at William and Mary, with talks by alumni, faculty, and staff.
So come through and listen to many women’s perspectives on their college lives and how those experiences have impacted their life and future.
A link to the calendar of events for October: