Women’s history month at Marquette

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March is Women’s history month

As Women’s History Month ends, women and female-presenting community members let themselves be heard.

“I think women’s history is essential to our present. It helps us see where society has failed before and allows us to see in what aspects we need to put more effort and work in,” Paula Pascual, a first-year in the College of Arts & Sciences said.

Last semester, 48.2% of faculty were female and 51.8% were male. Female faculty, staff and students are creating ways where women can feel supported.

Emily Baseheart, senior director of regional development, university advancement, is the founder and co-chair of the Women of Marquette Employee Resource Group.

With her two daughters and two nieces in mind, Baseheart established the ERG. 

“I’d say the goal of the group is to connect women all over campus and then also to help them develop their strengths and empower them to get leadership experience they may not get in their everyday roles that would hopefully lead to advancement,” Baseheart said.  

Now at 150 members, Baseheart said she wants to continue to connect women by starting a new program.  

“For the next fiscal year, we want to launch an internal mentorship program. So, we’re going to have members apply to be either a mentee or a mentor. I think we all know how transformational mentorship is,” Baseheart said. 

Claire Kirchhoff, clinical assistant professor in the department of biological sciences, said that her family created a model based on their own strengths instead of confining themselves to gender normative lines.

“We felt empowered to follow this course because it works for our life history stage, and we’ve seen examples of the ways breaking free from gender norms is liberating,” Kirchhoff said in an email.

Baseheart said that she wants the ERG to be a support system for current and incoming female faculty and will assist Marquette in recruiting and retaining female faculty.

“I wanted to create something that made it possible to reach out right away and say welcome to Milwaukee, welcome to Marquette and let me introduce you to people. We want to be part of the welcoming committee because we want to retain these superstars,” Baseheart said.  

Baseheart isn’t the only person on campus who hopes to expand their outreach to women and continue to educate about women’s issues.

“A lot of classes, a lot of news, like everywhere we look, things having to do with women or people of other gender expressions are seen as less serious and less important than things men do,” Dawne Moon, professor and co-director of the Gender & Sexuality Program, said.

Some students feel that this applies to their own fields of study.

“As a woman entering in real estate, especially which is a male-dominated industry, it’s important that we see more women that are included,” Gabby Boester, a junior in the College of Business Administration, said.

Boester said she thinks women can bring different perspectives to certain career fields. Kirchhoff said that she experienced differences because of her gender in her field.
“I often was called ‘Miss’ or by my first name in my previous position when male faculty were not, and I wasn’t quite sure how to navigate that as a new Ph.D. from a different naming tradition,” Kirchhoff said in an email.
If  a woman of color at Marquette feels excluded, Sheena Carey, internship director for the College of Communication, said that they can go to the Womxn of Color Resource Group

“I had a really strong sense of identity based on where I grew up and how I grew up. But you know, I the very first time I was called the n-word, I was here on campus. I was 21 years old and I was walking to my apartment and I heard this shout,” Carey said.  

Shocked by this experience, Carey called her mom. Her mom told her that she was so special that they had to point it out even in their ignorance. For those that are not getting messages of encouragement, Carey said to encourage yourself and use employee groups as a resource.

“They are there for folks to be able to sort of share issues and challenges that they may be dealing with and also cultivate a sense of belonging and inclusiveness. So our title, women of color, has an X by design to include all women-identified members of Marquette’s community,” Carey said.

This story was written by Hannah Hernandez and Clara Lebrón. They can be reached at hannah.hernandez@marquette.edu and clara.lebron@marquette.edu.