By Joseph Morgan, Presidio of Monterey Public AffairsMarch 26, 2010
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - Aca,!A"Writing Women Back into History,Aca,!A? the national theme of this yearAca,!a,,cs WomenAca,!a,,cs History Month, was also the theme of the 2010 WomenAca,!a,,cs History Month Observance held March 24 at the Presidio of Monterey. WomenAca,!a,,cs History Month is celebrated annually throughout the United States in March.
The Presidio event was hosted by the California Medical Detachment at the PresidioAca,!a,,cs Tin Barn auditorium.
The detachmentAca,!a,,cs executive officer, Army Capt. Robert Weber, welcomed attendees, including Col. Sue Ann Sandusky, commandant of the Defense Foreign Language Institute Foreign Language Center, and Col. Darcy A. Brewer, Presidio of Monterey garrison commander. Seated in rows behind them was a capacity audience of Presidio servicemembers and civilian employees.
Aca,!A"The history of women often seems to be written with invisible ink,Aca,!A? said keynote speaker Lt. Col. Melissa Hoffman, chief nurse of the Presidio of Monterey Army Health Clinic. Aca,!A"As recently as the 1980s, womenAca,!a,,cs history was virtually an unknown topic in the (public schoolsAca,!a,,c) kindergarten to 12 curricula and in general public consciousness.Aca,!A?
Until a few decades ago, Hoffman said, only a few colleges offered courses in womenAca,!a,,cs studies. She said less than 3 percent of the content of textbooks used in AmericaAca,!a,,cs public schools dealt with contributions of women and, when included, women were mentioned only in footnotes.
Aca,!A"Women of color and women in fields such as math, science and art were completely omitted,Aca,!A? Hoffman said. Aca,!A"This exclusion of women deprived students of viable female role models.Aca,!A?
Hoffman noted that the 2010 celebration marks the 30th anniversary of official recognition of womenAca,!a,,cs history in the United States. In 1980, she said, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 as the first National WomenAca,!a,,cs History Week. From this beginning, the National WomenAca,!a,,cs History Project lobbied successfully for expansion of the week into an entire month starting in 1987.
Using projected slides as a visual aid, Hoffman narrated capsule biographies of some notable American women who influenced the course of history. Among them:
Aca,!Ac Clara Barton (1821-1912), Civil War nurse and founder of the American Red Cross.
Aca,!Ac Caroline Rose Foster (1877-1977), farmer and environmentalist who worked to preserve historic sites in her native New Jersey.
Aca,!Ac Wendy Abrams (born 1965), environmentalist and founder of Cool Globes, a non-profit organization to raise awareness of global warming.
Aca,!Ac Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906), campaigner for womenAca,!a,,cs voting rights whose work led to passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Aca,!Ac Jane Addams (1860-1935), social worker and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. In Chicago in 1889 she founded Hull House, AmericaAca,!a,,cs first settlement house for poor immigrant families.
Aca,!Ac Ella Baker (1903-1986), political activist who worked to establish civil and voting rights for African-Americans. She helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
Aca,!Ac Ethel Percy Andrus (1884-1967), elder-rights activist and founder of the National Retired Teachers Association and the American Association of Retired Persons.
Aca,!Ac Judith Low (1860-1927), founder of the Girl Scouts of America.
Aca,!Ac Sandra Smith (born 1960), advocate for senior citizens and founder of Helping Others Means Everything, an assistance program.
Aca,!Ac Brig. Gen. Anna Mae Hayes (born 1920), chief of the Army Nurse Corps from 1967 to 1971 and the first woman to be promoted to general officer rank in the U.S. military.
Aca,!Ac Gen. Ann Elizabeth Dunwoody (born 1953), U.S. Army officer and the first woman to attain four-star rank in the U.S military.
At the opening of the Presidio event, an unaccompanied singing of the national anthem was performed by Petty Officer 2nd Class Renita Norman, then an invocation was offered by Army Chaplain (Capt.) Mark Morgan, and Spc. Rebecca Ploharz read an original poem, Aca,!A"I Am Coretta.Aca,!A?
The program concluded with a video on the life and times of the fictional and iconic Aca,!A"Rosie the RiveterAca,!A? of World War II fame. Popularized in 1940s songs, magazine covers and advertisements, Rosie was a symbol of strong working women of America who took jobs in heavy industry during the war years when much of the male population was called into military service. When World War II ended in 1945, women had demonstrated they could handle tasks that only a few years earlier were entrusted entirely to men.