Banners are going up along Broadway and Amsterdam this week to commemorate Women’s History Month. The theme of this year’s celebration, sponsored by the mayor’s office, is particularly meaningful to Columbia. The theme -- “NY Loves Women: Your City, Your Success” seeks to recognize and value the contributions of New York women as a key component of the success and vibrancy of the city.
That sentiment resonates deeply with Columbia. Jeanette C. Takamura, dean of the School of Social Work, along with Lisa Anderson, dean of the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and Jean E. Howard, vice provost for Diversity Initiatives, asked colleagues whether they would be interested in participating in the banner program. The response was overwhelming.
Imprinted with the logos of Columbia’s various schools, the banners mark the University’s celebration of Women’s History Month as well as its commitment to honoring the enormous achievements of women at Columbia.
This year marks the 25 th anniversary of Women’s History Month and also the 30 th anniversary of the New York City Commission on Women’s Issues, which initiated the banners project. The commission invited New York institutions of higher learning to purchase banners as part of an effort to underscore the educational opportunities the city offers to women. More than 16 schools and offices at Columbia purchased banners, which will be on display for two months.
The long history of women’s struggle for full inclusion in American society is interwoven with the history of Columbia, a story told engagingly by Professor of History Rosalind Rosenberg in her new book, Changing the Subject: How the Women of Columbia Shaped the Way We Think About Sex and Politics. Richly documenting the accomplishments and the professional barriers that challenged a long list of distinguished Columbia women -- including Margaret Mead, Zora Neale Hurston, Kate Millett and Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- Rosenberg shows the importance of their work to the political and social history of modern America.
Through the recent creation of the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity Initiatives, the University has reaffirmed its commitment to promoting diversity at Columbia. Among other priorities, it is vigorously pursuing the recruitment, retention and promotion of outstanding women scholars and administrators so that the rich history of women at Columbia will have an equally distinguished future.