In 2002, some of the women's studies graduates posed for a snapshot.
These students, one from Nepal and the others from Maine, majored or
minored in women's studies; one earned a master's degree in
communication with a graduate concentration in women's studies. Now
some are working in medical or social services. Two have careers in
writing (one on the editorial staff at Hope magazine in Maine). Two
have done graduate work abroad and are applying to law school.
Bottom: Head of suffrage parade, 1913
Photo courtesy of
The Library of Congress,
Photos and Prints Division
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More than two decades ago, the
University of Maine sharpened its vision, taking steps toward
establishing a "bifocal" curriculum — one that focuses on the
contributions, perspectives, values and needs of women, as well as those
of men. The Women in the Curriculum initiative, with its roots in equal
opportunity and women's development at the university, started providing
educational resources and development opportunities for faculty in 1981.
Since then, the program has publicly celebrated the achievements and
history of women, not just in March during National Women's History
Month, but throughout the year. A weekly lecture series to stimulate
community discourse and an annual awards program honoring outstanding
Maine women — all open to the campus community and beyond — enhance the
faculty development activities.
But perhaps the most far-reaching effect of such advocacy has been the
establishment of an independent academic program in women's studies.
Courses with the WST designator and a minor began in 1989, followed by a
major in 1998. Graduate courses and a graduate concentration came in
2000. The current name — the Women in the Curriculum and Women's Studies
Program — reflects all this growth.
This spring, more than 160 women and men are enrolled in six sections of
Introduction to Women's Studies. Other spring 2004 courses focus on such
areas as feminism and cinema; women, health and the environment; and the
writing of Toni Morrison.
Graduates who majored or minored in women's studies remain active in
advocacy as they pursue careers working in battered women's projects,
women's health centers or organizations for girls. Others have gone on
to graduate school in law, social work or international development.
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