Wednesday, March 20, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 112


Celebrate Women's History Month

Dr. Gail Gillan
Guest Columnist

When I came to work at this University several years ago, the Texas governor, the Houston mayor and the UH president were all female.

They were powerful women as well. Marguerite Barnett was the first African-American female to be named president of a major public research
institution, and her legacy here was impressive. She was responsible for such achievements as a $51.4 million gift to the University, the
creation of the Texas Center for Environmental Studies and a commitment by the University to community partnerships. Her mere presence
brought a higher stature to the University.

March is Women's History Month, so it seems appropriate to take a moment to reflect on the power and influence of women in our lives.

How many women, notable in their own right, can you actually name, other than those in sports or in entertainment? If your list is short, it is not
because they don't exist, but rather because we don't always learn about them.

Have you ever read The Book of Women? It's an interesting book, including brief biographies of more than 300 women. Included are women
from all walks of life, from all races and ethnicities and from all socioeconomic standings.

The author begins with the women we most often do study in history, most of whom were either "martyrs, or whores, or wives." An interesting

Why not marvel instead at the tenacity of Elizabeth Blackwell, for example, who after being rejected by 29 medical schools became the first
female physician in this country? Why not look at the courage of Sojourner Truth, a former slave and abolitionist who fought for freedom?

Revisiting history is not, as some might say, "revisionary" history. It's "inclusionary" history, one that reflects what really happened. Some of our
history is good; some is not. Either way, it's our history, and we can all take pride in how far we have come and how much we have gained from
having a history that was influenced by men and by women, and by people of every race, culture, ethnicity, socioeconomic background and
sexual orientation.

Bringing our pride in women to the forefront enhances and expands our pride as people.

What do you see when you look around? Are there women who have had a profound influence on your life? Maybe you should tell them about
that influence, and the pride you take in being a woman.

As a man, why not tell the influential women in your life about the pride you take in them.

Someday, perhaps, we won't have women's history months, or black history months, or other "history" months. Perhaps we won't need to have
them. Perhaps the history we all study will be one that more "accurately" reflects our past, more "pridefully" describes our present and projects
our future in a more "hope-filled" manner.

There are women out there, in all of our lives, whom we can say with confidence are worth studying and knowing. They are indeed women well
worth it.

Gillan, the director of the UH Wellness 
Center, can be reached via

To contact the Opinon Section Editor, send e-mail to

To contact other members of 
The Daily Cougar Online staff, 


Advertise in The Daily Cougar

Student Publications
University of Houston
151C Communication Bldg
Houston, Texas 77204-4015

©2005, Student Publications. All rights reserved.
Permissions/Web Use Policy


Last upWednesday, March 20, 2002:

Visit The Daily Cougar