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BC to celebrate women's history with March events

  • March 15, 2011

Since the 1980s, Bakersfield College has participated in the country-wide effort to recognize the historical accomplishments of women with a month-long series of programs each March. This year, Women’s History Month and More pays special tribute to the centennial of California women’s suffrage with five events centered on Women, Politics, and the Personal.

One hundred years ago, in 1911, women in California won the hard-fought, bitter battle that started in 1870 for the right to vote. According to the Women of the West Museum, “White middle-class women's clubs, unions, church groups, black self-help groups, temperance groups, and Socialists all incorporated the suffrage issue into their day-to-day grassroots community work. They believed that if women could vote, they could clean up dirty politics and cure social ills like child labor, prostitution and poverty. Disfranchisement became a powerful symbol that unified women from all walks of life.”

The women organized their efforts through a network of various women’s groups, strategizing over tea and sewing and using the newly developed telephone system to spread their message throughout the state. They used other new technologies like touring in a flamboyant open roadster called the Blue Liner. When men in towns and cities gathered around to see the car, the women would start campaigning for their votes. Other women sang their protests when public speaking permits were denied to them. Their endeavors succeeded; women in California gained the right to vote nine years prior to the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, allowing all American women to vote.

The programs at Bakersfield College will explore the effects of politics on women’s lives, both historic and present-day. The events are free and open to the public. Bakersfield College's event schedule is:

March 1, 2011 - 6:30 p.m.

Women Win the Vote

Bakersfield College history professor Ann Wiederrecht will present “California Women Win the Vote,” commemorating when women achieved suffrage in 1911 by state constitutional amendment. California State University, Bakersfield history professor Clíona Murphy will speak on “Irish and English Women's Fight for the Vote: Contradictions and Conflicts.” A question and answer session will follow the two talks.

Bakersfield College Panorama Campus Fireside Room, 1801 Panorama Drive

March 10, 2011 - 6:30 p.m.

Speaking the Truth

Famed former slave Sojourner Truth comes alive with a portrayal by Althea Williams. Williams will take participants through the life of Truth, as slave, abolitionist, preacher and women's rights advocate.

Bakersfield College Panorama Campus Fireside Room, 1801 Panorama Drive

March 16, 2011 - 6:30 p.m.

Raging Grannies

Raging Grannies is a lively and thought-provoking film that tells the story of the Action League. These women, aged 50-90, protest social injustices with a sense of outrage, a sense of humor, and a commitment to non-violence. As the Huffington Post notes, "These women do not go quietly into old age!" Discussion will follow the 30-minute, award-winning film.

Bakersfield College Panorama Campus Science and Engineering 53, 1801 Panorama Drive

March 24, 2011 - 6:30 p.m.

Feminist Politics and the Market in Human Eggs

Human eggs have become a “hot commodity” on the markets of infertility treatment and stem cell research. Patricia Jennings, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology & Social Services at California State University, East Bay, explores the nature of these markets, the social inequalities associated with them, and the effects of the trade on the women who participate. Using a reproductive justice model, she offers ways of thinking about the issue that move beyond the liberal feminist narrative of “choice.” This event is co-sponsored by the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities.

Bakersfield College Panorama Campus Fireside Room, 1801 Panorama Drive

March 30, 2011 - 11 a.m.

Women Taking Action

How do women make an impact where they live? Find out at this panel discussion with inspirational women involved in the local community through politics, government, or volunteerism. Moderator: Olivia Garcia, Editor of Bakersfield Life magazine; Panel members: Sue Benham, Bakersfield City Councilwoman; Kalisha Hudgins, Faith in Action of Kern County; Julie Jordan Scott, Secretary of BCSD Special Education Local Plan Area; Barbara Patrick, California Women Lead & former Kern County Supervisor; Norma Rojas-Mora, Special Projects and Supportive Services Program Manager for the Kern County Housing Authority & President of Latina Leaders of Kern County; and a representative from the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

Bakersfield College Panorama Campus Fireside Room, 1801 Panorama Drive

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