In a perfect world, The Alligator wouldn’t need to devote an entire issue to highlight the invaluable contributions of women to our campus and community.
But too often, the hard work, long hours and emotional toll many women put in for Gainesville and UF go unnoticed. Women have been continually undermined, underrepresented and underestimated in fields dominated by men.
This month, we take pride in celebrating the numerous women who shaped UF and Gainesville, beginning with their journeys in 1947, when UF became a co-ed university by order of the Florida Legislature.
Its official title may have been placed over 70 years ago, but women have long been trailblazing the standards set by the university.
Take, for example, Lassie Goodbread-Black, the first woman to fully enroll at UF. Her impact shouldn’t be taken lightly; she set the scene for women’s education in 1925 — over two decades before official legislation was put into effect.
Though the current legislature threatens the livelihood of different types of women at UF and in the greater Gainesville community, many of them have continued to stay strong in the face of these adversities.
Some departments, such as UF’s women’s studies program, are directly targeted with the proposal of House Bill 999. The program, established in 1977, has continued to hold numerous panels across UF’s campus, furthering the intersectionality UF has strived for within recent years.
Women’s History Month strives to highlight the importance of women in society, and their pursuits in obtaining this level of success shouldn’t be ignored.
Through this project, we aimed to provide a diverse array of women who inspire us in the UF and Gainesville communities.
Members of our staff profiled women like Cynthia Chestnut, a Gainesville City Commissioner with five decades of public service experience and Tivalee Hansen, a patient care assistant at the beginning of her career who found herself working at UF Health Shands Hospital after her mother’s severe COVID-19 diagnosis.
With each story, we hope you recognize the perseverance that these women and countless others before them had to possess to see their dreams realized. We all stand on the shoulders of giants, and we will continue to fight for positive change as gaps in equity rightfully shrink across industries.
Over the years, the “Florida man” stereotype has taken on a life of its own in statewide media — a comedic dig at the outlandish, often dangerous situations men along the coast find themselves in.
In our Women’s History Month edition, The Alligator flips this caricature on its head and spotlights the many Florida women who make up the rich cultural tapestry of UF and Gainesville.
The Editorial Board is made up of Editor-in-Chief Alan Halaly, Engagement Managing Editor Veronica Nocera, Digital Managing Editor Aurora Martínez and Opinions Editor Selin Ciltas.