by Anna Schactler
History is taught in nearly every high school, but how many actually focus on women’s history?
The answer is not many.
We learn about general historic events and how countries and their economies were affected by various events. But we rarely go into depth on how women were affected.
History teacher Erin Lynch is the only woman solely dedicated to teaching history.
“I’m having to push myself to try to rethink how we look at history and bring more voices to the table, including half the population–women,” she said.
“I blame myself,” Lynch said. “As much as anyone else in the department for the lack of adequate representation.”
Women are rarely brought up in history, especially in books. For instance, the index in my book for U.S. history contains only four entries specifically about women. The passages in these books are brief and zip through important times in women’s history.
“The only sentences I ever read in my history books is like ‘and then women continued to have to sew and do the domestic affairs’ and I’m like ‘Thanks for that quick, sentence update on women’s history’,” said junior Iris Thwaits.
“And then they’re like ‘And they tried to get some rights and then they failed’ and then it goes back to talking about the old white men,” she said.
People don’t understand current issues that affect women because women aren’t adequately represented in history. If women are never represented in history, how are people supposed to know what they go through or how they might feel when it comes to current issues?
Thwaits continued to ask a very thought provoking question. “How are you supposed to make progress if you don’t know where they’re coming from?”
There is a barrier we come across when people don’t understand a certain group’s point of view. We won’t make progress because sexism, and other kinds of prejudice, will continue to grow. But when people understand the history of these minorities, we all make progress.
Photo by: Anna Schactler