Celebrating Women’s History Month: School of Education Faculty Recognize the Contributions of Women to Professions
March 30, 2021
March is known for many events: the Ides of March, March Madness – the NCAA tournaments, rapid weather changes, and most significantly to several faculty in the School of Education, Women’s History Month. In the School of Education, many faculty make a special effort to recognize the contributions of women to professions.
But first, School of Education faculty offer a quick history lesson about Women’s History Month.
- In 1908 (when LSU was 48 years old), New York City Women united to march for labor laws, humane working conditions, and the right to vote.
- Two years later in March 1910, women leaders organized a global conference on women’s issues.
- Fast forward to 1972, when Title IX, which refers to federal laws that govern institutions that receive federal financial assistance, was passed.
- By 1975, the United Nations sponsored International Women’s Day on March 8.
- By 1978, in response to the lack of curriculum available in public schools, The National Women’s History Alliance established Women’s History Week, beginning annually on March 8th.
- In February of 1980, then President, Jimmy Carter, via presidential proclamation, set forth that beginning March 8, the United States would celebrate National Women’s History Week.
- In 1987, Congress declared March as Women’s History Month, passing Public Law 100-9.
History lesson aside, faculty in the School of Education intentionally focus curricular choices on the specific achievements and significant contributions of women and their status within educational professions in the United States as well as internationally. As an extension of and compliment to Black History Month, several faculty members also use March as a timeframe to concentrate on the unique achievements of Women of Color, including Black and African-American women. The following School of Education faculty reflect on the importance of honoring women, sharing how the study and inclusion of women within their fields is essential.
Joy L. Blanchard, PhD
Joy L Blanchard, PhD, Coordinator of the Higher Education Administration Program and an affiliate faculty member of LSU’s Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, specializes in the study of higher education law, and primarily focuses on issues related to intercollegiate athletics, negligence liability and student welfare, and faculty life.As a past member of the board of directors of the Education Law Association, Blanchard opined about highlighting women, stating, “There are so many areas of society in which women are not treated equally—including the law.”
Jennifer R. Curry, PhD
Jennifer R. Curry, PhD, who specializes in school counseling and has spent her career focusing her research efforts on career and college readiness and school counselor development, also highlights the role of women in her courses.Dr. Curry claimed, “Women are crucial to the development of children, families, communities, and every institution in society today. There is an essential need to recognize and value the work they do and the daily contributions they make. I am grateful for the women who have come before us and have laid a foundation of leadership, research, education, and service. Now, it is up to all of us to support women today, as well as our future colleagues, so we may all achieve our highest potential.”
Cynthia Fontcuberta DiCarlo, PhD
Cynthia Fontcuberta DiCarlo, PhD, is Executive Director of the Early Childhood Educational Laboratory Preschool, Executive Director of the Early Childhood Institute, and Coordinator of the Early Childhood Education Teacher Education Program. DiCarlo’s research focuses on interventions to improve outcomes for young children and clarification and innovations in recommended practices in early childhood.
Regarding highlighting women in Early Childhood and teaching in general, DiCarlo stated, “COVID-19 has shown how essential child care is to our economy; however, as a female-dominated profession, the early years are under-researched, underfunded and underappreciated. It is time for the profession to be revered, respected and acknowledged for its contribution to society.”
Sassy Wheeler, PhD
Sassy Wheeler, PhD, Co-Director of the LSU Writing Project, is a scholar whose areas of research interest include social supports for in-service teachers and school leaders and fostering inclusive educational practices for culturally and linguistically diverse populations. For Wheeler, inclusiveness incorporates the role of women. Possessing a wealth of expertise and knowledge regarding inclusiveness, Wheeler stated, “We must be certain to meet all of our student’s needs, especially women enrolled in teacher education. It is imperative that educators are aware of the dynamics in students’ lives in this ever-evolving world, and that we meet them where they are, and in particular, recognize the duality of many female students’ lives.”
Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, PhD
Margaret-Mary Sulentic Dowell, PhD, Coordinator of the PhD Program in Educational Leadership, Director of the LSU Writing Project, and also an affiliate faculty member of LSU’s interdisciplinary Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, embeds women authors, educators, and leaders as stellar examples and powerful demonstrations in the courses she teaches.
Sulentic Dowell offered, “With a minor in Women’s Studies as part of my first degree, I have consciously and strategically tried to include women in my syllabi, in course readings, and as the focus in any examination of research. You simply cannot study education and leadership and not address the seminal contributions of women – they are the fabric of this country.”
School of Education Director, F. Neil Mathews commented, “School of Education faculty are at the forefront of research and promoting recommended practice in teacher education, higher education, counselor education, and educational leadership. Faculty understand and promote inclusivity at every turn and work hard to enact inclusiveness in their research and practice. These examples demonstrate how faculty both include and promote women in their work.” Mathews also shares some potential resources that faculty in the School of Education point to as excellent resources surrounding the inclusion of women and the need to highlight their accomplishments and contributions in education PK-12+.
About the School of Education
The LSU School of Education (SOE) offers graduate and undergraduate programs in Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership and Research, and Counseling, including two completely online master’s programs. SOE offers a range of professional and academic degree programs that focus on preparing students for careers in education, research, policy formation and implementation, as well as program oversight. The School’s mission is to prepare P-12 educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners, and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues. SOE is part of the College of Human Sciences & Education. Visit the School of Education at lsu.edu/education.