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A celebration of Duke women

I am a feminist. And if you know me well, you know that I’m not afraid of those words. For me, the passion that those words invoke is reminiscent of women’s long journey for equal opportunities, a journey to which I owe an enormous debt of gratitude.

This weekend, Duke will celebrate Winning Women’s Weekend, a commemoration of academics, athletics and advocacy. This event is an excellent opportunity for students, both male and female, to consider what it means to be a feminist at Duke, and to honor the heroic efforts of the feminists and activists who have come before us.

Despite my confusion with her need to include the “I am not a feminist” disclaimer, I sincerely enjoyed reading Ashley Camano’s column, “This one’s for the girls,” in Tuesday’s Chronicle that discusses the feats of our female athletes and encourages undergraduate support in Duke’s celebration of women in athletics. As we honor 40 years of high achieving women’s athletics teams, let’s not forget the other significant impacts that Title IX has had on our campus, and the most significant benefit that we as women have enjoyed because of it: the fact that we can study at Duke University. Exactly 40 years ago this year, the Woman’s College was integrated with Trinity College, allowing women to become equal participants in the University. With Title IX came equality in the classroom as well as on the athletic field.

Even as we celebrate this important piece of history, we should also make a commitment to the future of women at Duke. We cannot overlook the inequalities that continue to persist between genders in academics, athletics and the working world. We are the feminists who will be remembered 40 years from now. I encourage everyone to do some research into what “feminism” truly means. These accomplishments, the athletic and academic progress, and the achievements that are being celebrated this weekend, are exactly what a Duke Feminist would support.

Sincerely,

Catherine Joseph, Pratt ’12

Vice-Chair, Alice M. Baldwin Scholars

Rewa Choudhary, Pratt ’12

Chair, Alice M. Baldwin Scholars

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