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Friday, June 02, 2023
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As a master’s candidate at UF’s department of gender, sexuality and women’s studies, I have experienced first-hand the benefits of studying and celebrating women’s accomplishments and the impact gender has on each of our daily lives. 

March marks a month to commemorate the transformative achievements of women to the world and even our very own university. Women’s History Month celebrates the observance and celebration of interventions made by women in our culture. 

Here, at the UF and in Gainesville, more broadly, we have many accomplishments by women to celebrate. In 1925, less than 100 years ago, Lassie Goodbread-Black was the first woman admitted full-time to the UF in the College of Agriculture. 

34 years later — only 63 years ago — Daphne Duval Williams was the first Black woman student at UF. Williams would later become the first Black woman to earn a degree from the university. 

In 1968, Judith Brown co-founded Gainesville’s Women Liberation — the first women’s liberation group in the South. In 1988, Brown helped establish the Gainesville organization called Stop Child Sexual Abuse.

In 1977, the university’s women’s studies program was authorized to advocate equality and freedom for everyone regardless of gender, sexuality, race, class or nationality. 

This Women’s History Month, we should honor the accomplishments and contributions of the women and non-binary students that have struggled against misogyny and hatred to help establish the UF into the institution it is today. 

There are many fun ways to celebrate Women’s History Month at UF. You could visit Ustler Hall, the home of the department of gender, sexuality and women’s studies — which was formerly the women’s gymnasium and is listed on the U.S. national register of historic places. 

You can view the “Radical Women in Gainesville” exhibit online, which documents the struggle for the Women’s Liberation Movement on UF’s campus and in Gainesville in the 1970s. 

You can even attend the annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Summit hosted by the UF Warrington College of Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center, which shares inspiring advice and stories from successful women entrepreneurs. 

Throughout history, women have been erased and excluded. Women of color, transgender women and queer women have been subjected to even more harmful oppression than their white, cisgender counterparts. 

Women’s history and achievements are essential to UF and Gainesville’s community.

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In our contemporary moment, where the opportunity to critically study gender studies stands contested in the very state of Florida, Women’s History Month is critical. 

When we celebrate Women’s History Month, we honor the vast array of lived experiences of women and people from all different backgrounds. 

Women’s History Month is a time to confront the ongoing trials and injustices plaguing women in our community and worldwide. 

This month serves as an invitation to celebrate the achievements of the women who have been trailblazers and freedom fighters but, even more so, the women who bring light and joy to our daily existence and remind us of the humanity we each share.

Ebonee Brown is a UF graduate student in the department of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies.

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