Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Dania Matos, Director of Women’s Resources, Gender Equity Resource Center, christine ambrosio, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen C. Sutton, and Chief People & Culture Officer Eugene Whitlock sent this message to the campus community Monday:
Each March, we come together to celebrate all those who experience life through the lens of a woman in body, spirit, identity — past, present, future, and fluid — during Women’s History and Empowerment Month. At UC Berkeley, we are immensely proud of how we’ve paved the way for women for more than 150 years while acknowledging there is more work to be done. This year’s celebration is especially significant. It marks a major milestone in gender equity with the 50th anniversary of the Title IX legislation (which protects against discrimination based on sex in education programs) and the 50th anniversary of Berkeley’s Gender Equity Resource Center (GenEq).
This month-long celebration of women has strong Bay Area roots: Santa Rosa was the first city to recognize “Women’s History Week,” with a parade and programming in 1978. In honor of this year’s theme — Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope — we call your attention to just a few local activists and healers: University Health Services Multicultural Community Center & bridges Multicultural Resource Center Wellness Coordinator Elizabeth Aranda; African Diaspora Studies doctoral candidate, artist, and curator Ree Botts; Community United Against Violence SAF-T Program coordinator and alum Cai Carranza; author, speaker, activist, entrepreneur, and alum Michelle Mijung Kim; University Health Services Psychologist Veronica Orozco; and acclaimed chef, indigenous artist activist, and educational speaker Crystal Wahpepah.
We celebrate trailblazing women whose accomplishments and contributions made a difference for the campus community and beyond. We also recognize the continuing reality of “office housework,” a form of uncompensated yet essential labor that disproportionately falls to women, especially women of color.
A large percentage of Berkeley’s community identify as women, including well over half of our senior campus leadership, most notably Chancellor Carol Christ and Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Catherine Koshland. However, there are still disciplines and leadership positions where women, particularly women of color and transwomen, are underrepresented. Additionally, we know that women may face disparate treatment such as salary inequity and sexual harassment and are continously working to address those issues through robust programs and services. Sexism, misogyny, transphobia, cissexism, and intersectional discrimnation exist in our community and, as a campus, it is incumbent on each and every one of us to learn more about these issue, uplift all women, and remove barriers to all women’s success, advancement, and sense of belonging.
We hope you will join us this month to learn more about Berkeley’s contributions to women’s history, special events and gender and women’s studies research. Let’s celebrate this month and every day starting with people in our spaces!