Power to the Pink: Women’s & Gender Studies Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary

WaGSWhat do you think of when you see pink? A light sunburn, a bright highlighter, Molly Ringwald, perhaps? If you’re at Saint Mary’s, you might think of a room full of faculty, administrators and alumnae celebrating 20 years of the Women’s & Gender Studies Program.

A welcoming pink backdrop set the scene for a celebration on November 13 of the growth of the Women’s & Gender Studies Program over the past two decades. The program, known as WaGS, blossomed out of protests and a sense of urgency to create a program at Saint Mary’s that could reflect the needs and concerns of women, and it is now a respected and high-profile program on campus.

Director Denise Witzig recalls that in 1993 at the start of the program only two classes were offered, now there are 18. The growth of the program showcases the fortitude of the faculty and students who protested with their iconic pink gloves and resilient spirits.

WaGS gloveThe history of the program was also showcased in posters lining the walls, from posters advertising current events and gender issues to guest speakers, like Gloria Steinem and Adrienne Rich.

During the event, past directors Sandra Grayson, Myrna Santiago and Molly Metherd each shared their personal thoughts on the impact of the Women’s & Gender Studies program. But Witzig focused on the students and the WaGS community.

“The students are the heart and soul of the program,” she said. “They are fantastic individuals who have a lot to contribute to the world. They are the center of change.” Witzig attributed the success and growth of the program to the “wonderful thriving community” of faculty and students.

Within this sea of pink, one thing was clear: The Women’s & Gender Studies program is a family that has blossomed through adversity and see a bright future at Saint Mary’s.

View more photos of the event.

Learn more about Women’s and Gender Studies at SMC.

By Josephine Kirk '14

Photos by Teresa Castle and Diane Bianchi

womenNote: The gathering brought together a broad array of people who have been involved in the program over the years. Among them were:

WaGS advisory board members Denise Witzig, Scott Schoenfeldt-Aultman, Diane Bianchi, Myrna Santiago, Molly Metherd, Jennifer Heung, Maria Luisa Ruiz, Monica Fitzgerald, Sharon Walters and Joan Iva Fawcett; and former directors and board members Sandy Grayson, Cathy Davalos, and Shawny Anderson.

Other attendees included Carol Beran, Frances Sweeney, Mary True, Aaron Sachs, Zeynep Atalay, Gillian Cutshaw, Ete Martinez-Anderson, President Jim Donahue, Provost Beth Dobkin, and Vice Provost Richard Carp, plus alumnae Liliana Carrillo and Alicia Villanueva.