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Celebrating Women

“I am woman, hear me roar.”

Helen Reddy sang it. And the National Women’s History Project is roaring loudly, too.

The organization, which provides a national clearinghouse for general information about women’s history, is celebrating the end of Women’s History Month this week, and USF is right there along with it.

<IMAGE2?"There are always people who think it's all about female power and how girls are better than boys," said freshman Lana Richards.

“What I’ve seen is just celebrating women and what they’ve accomplished. It has nothing to do with how they’re better than anyone else.”

Richards plans on attending the Friday night art and poetry festival. She says she’s trying to work up the courage to read one of her own pieces.

She said she heard about the month’s celebration from a flyer she saw while attending a class at the St. Petersburg campus. “I went with a friend of mine to an art show they had at the St. Pete campus that night,” Richards said.

The last week of the celebration of women, she said, deserves a grand finale.

The Student Health Services will present a health fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today.

“The fair happened to fall during the end of the Women’s History celebration,” said Amy Gerardo, health education specialist for Student Health Services. “We’re offering many services that would interest women, like osteoporosis screenings, massage therapy, cholesterol screenings.”

The fair will be held just outside the Health Services building, near the USF Bookstore.

A performance art show follows at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the USF Theater. The show is co-sponsored by the USF Latin American and Caribbean Studies department, TheatreUSF and the USF Status of Women Committee.

With a warning that “this program is provocatively personal and unapologetically political,” the play centers on the story of a female Puerto Rican peace activist.

The week’s final celebration is the Women’s Art & Poetry Festival, featuring speakers, student art and open-mic readings.

“We’re putting it on in conjunction with the Women’s History Month and PRIDE Week (a celebration of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students),” said Jai Somers, a graduate assistant and president for the Women’s Studies Graduate Student Association.

“It’s a lot of self-statement, with mixed media like pictures and painting,” she said. “We’re looking for poems, songs, anything people have to express.”

Two university graduate students, Cindy Childress and Melissa Fair, and Women’s Studies associate professor, Gurlene Grewal, are scheduled to read their poetry at the festival.

“A few other students are scheduled, but anyone is more than welcome to sign up at the event to fill up the extra time,” Somers said.

As recently as the 1970s, women’s history was virtually an unknown topic in general public consciousness, says the National Women’s History Project. In answer to this missing piece of the puzzle, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission in California initiated a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. NWHP was founded in 1980.

President George W. Bush recognized the celebration in a speech at the beginning of March.

“I am proud to recognize the many contributions American women have made to help make our nation free, strong and a force for peace and justice around the world,” he said. “I encourage every American to learn more about these important contributions, and to celebrate their noble legacies as we work to build a bright future for our nation and for all of the world’s people.”

  • Contact Danielle Ritchieat