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Gender studies program bridges gender gap

March 26, 1997

By Melissa Miller

Lariat Reporter

The face of the University is always changing, as are the students who come here and the reasons they arrive. Despite the popular myth that many University women come for their M.R.S degree--to find a marriage partner--many find the education more important.

The female student and faculty population have continually increased since history professor Patricia Wallace came to the University approximately 20 years ago.

'For 20 years, I was the only woman in the Tidwell Bible Building; now there are about 12, I believe,' Wallace said. 'I think the roles of women have changed in the 90s. We as a society lose if we do not educate women.'

In an effort to bridge the gender gap, the University offers a gender studies program with courses in various departments dealing with gender issues.

The new program offers classes in the history, religion, English, sociology and psychology departments.

Dr. Anne-Marie Bowery, a philosophy professor involved with the new minor, said that the education of women has led to women being more independent, particularly financially.

'Many of my teachers influenced me in my undergraduate work, specifically to pursue intellectual things,' Bowery said.

Many women are putting away the traditional way of thinking that says they are confined to the home to raise a family. Many strive to hold down a family and a job simultaneously.

'I think that the typical woman of the 90s tries to do everything--to have a family and hold down a job,' said Amy Lichte, a Topeka, Kan., senior. 'If I have a family, they would take priority over a career because they are people.'

For other students, a career would take priority over a family.

'I want to be a nurse and help other people,' Stephanie Kilbarger, a Rockwall sophomore, said. 'I want a family bad, but I want to start a career first because I want to be able to help others. When I finally start a family, they will then take priority.'

A major part of students' desires of whether to raise a family or start come from the influences of others on their lives.

Amy Atkinson, a Houston freshman, said that her mom and friends influenced her a lot and provided role models growing up.

'One person I admire is Ruth Graham because she has led such a Christ-centered life,' Erin Allen, a Bloomburg freshman, said.

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