Lacking vital perspective

Women’s studies courses marginalized districtwide

Lacking+vital+perspective

Marci Suela / The Advocate

By The Advocate Editorial Board

Influential women in history are rarely the focus of history classes in the K-12 public school system in California, but this does not mean community colleges should follow suit.

Women’s History Month is a period of time set aside annually to recognize and appreciate women from all walks of life.

It is impossible, however, to recognize the vast number of women who have changed history in a span of just 31 days.

Appreciating women throughout human history should not be reduced to a social obligation to post something about it on social media once a year.

Recognizing the impact of these accomplishments would need more than a lifetime despite what the name of the celebratory month imposes.

A way to promote a lifelong quest to understand the under-appreciated role women play in our paternally-focused society would be to implement a women’s studies program at Contra Costa College.

According to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office online Data Mart, CCC has the highest ratio of female to male enrolled students among the three colleges in the Contra Costa Community College District as of the 2014 fall semester.

At CCC, 58 percent of students are female, 40 are male and 2 percent are unknown.

This percentage makes the percentage of women larger than that at Diablo Valley College and Los Medanos College by about a 6 and 5 percent, respectively.

And compared to colleges in the San Francisco, Peralta and Solano districts, the only college with a larger ratio of females to males is Oakland’s Merritt College with 59 percent.

Out of all of these college districts, however, the CCCCD is the only one that does not have a program that provides an interdisciplinary overview of women’s studies.

A student interested in studying women’s history, trends and issues would have to enroll at Berkeley City College, which is the nearest community college that offers a Women’s Studies Certificate of Proficiency.

Currently, there are only three courses offered at CCC that relate to women’s studies, but none are directly transferable for students wanting to specialize in women’s studies.

These courses are Sociology 142 — Intro to Gender; Social Science 140 — Contemporary Women; and English 274 — Women in Literature.

At DVC there are four courses and LMC does not have a single course related to women’s studies in any sort of context.

The district needs to meet with college leaders from the three campuses to evaluate their respective demographics to gauge where interest for a women’s studies program lies.

Until then, The Advocate encourages the college to create a committee of interested faculty and students to work together and evaluate courses that exist or if some need to be created for CCC to launch a women’s studies program.