By Al Macks, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsMarch 10, 2010
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. Aca,!" Aca,!A"Writing Women Back into HistoryAca,!A? is the theme of this yearAca,!a,,cs WomenAca,!a,,cs History Month celebration, which marks the 30th anniversary of the event that honors womenAca,!a,,cs contributions to the United States and the world.
The sponsor of the Presidio observance is the California Medical Detachment. The celebration is scheduled for 4 p.m. March 24 at the Tin Barn auditorium.
Among notable women who are remembered at the Presidio is the late Ann Arpajolu, who in September 1947 was the first woman to be hired as an instructor at the Army Language School, forerunner of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center.
When Arpajolu was selected chairperson of the Greek Department in the 1970s, she made history at the institute as the first woman to attain the position of department chairperson. The author of influential textbooks on the teaching of Greek language, Arpajolu retired in 1973.
In contrast to 1947, present-day DLIFLC employs about 550 women instructors. About 600 servicewomen are assigned to DLIFLC as students.
According to the National WomenAca,!a,,cs History Project Web site, such an extraordinary number attests to the tireless work of thousands of women and men, organizations and institutions in establishing WomenAca,!a,,cs History Month as an annual celebration.
When WomenAca,!a,,cs History Month was first celebrated in the early 1980s, the topic of womenAca,!a,,cs history was mostly limited to college curricula, the site says. Juxtapose that today with a Google search using the words Aca,!A"womenAca,!a,,cs + history + month,Aca,!A? which results in more than 40 million citations. As the saying goes: YouAca,!a,,cve come a long way, baby.
It has been estimated that less than 3 percent of the content of teacher-training textbooks available at that time mentioned the contributions of women, according to the site, which also says that when they were mentioned, womenAca,!a,,cs contributions were often relegated to mere footnotes. And, the contributions of women of color and women in fields such as mathematics, science and art were seldom discussed.
Celebrating WomenAca,!a,,cs History Month is a step toward correcting the historical record and drawing attention to viable female role models.