Editorial: Women of Hopkins is a good step toward gender equity

October 20, 2016

The University hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 18 to introduce a new installation that showcases 23 notable women affiliated with Hopkins. Banners of these women hang in the windows of the Mattin Center and detailed biographies of the women can be found on The Women of Hopkins website, women.jhu.edu.

Madeleine Albright, Helene Gayle and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are just three of the women honored.

The Editorial Board commends the University for facilitating the creation of such a display, but feels that this cannot be the only way to celebrate women’s achievements.

Hanging a banner with the faces of notable women is a start, but without more information, the installation seems more like a promotion for the University than a celebration of gender equity.

We recommend creating a more interactive experience to engage students. Producing a short documentary or conducting interviews with the living honorees could promote interest and encourage student to ask deeper questions about these inspiring female role models.

We also suggest moving the banners to various different locations across campus instead of keeping them in the Mattin Center permanently.

We acknowledge that this initiative is still a work in progress, and we hope that there are bigger plans in the works. We appreciate that a plan is in place to invite the honorees to speak for Women’s History Month in March.

According to The Women of Hopkins website, the University plans to expand the campaign, and nominations are still being accepted. The Editorial Board hopes that in the future, they will feature many more women and spotlight current students, staff and other faculty across the different Hopkins campuses.

There are plenty of amazing women who are affiliated with Hopkins, including custodial workers and dining staff. We believe that the Women of Hopkins campaign should honor these women, too, in order to encourage and inspire women of all backgrounds and interests.

Of the 23 women honored by the installation in the Mattin Center, many have achieved success in STEM fields that are typically male-dominated. There are also women whose accomplishments lie in the arts or social sciences, and the women come from diverse backgrounds.

The Editorial Board commends the choices for the first group of honorees as being representative of the diverse backgrounds and interests of Hopkins women.

The large scale goal of this project is to promote diversity and gender equity at Hopkins, but the project heads also hope to see an increase of women graduating from the traditionally male-dominated STEM fields.

The Editorial Board believes the initiative should be targeted toward inspiring and encouraging women of all backgrounds.

The project should celebrate women, but in its current form, it seems to say more about the University’s hopes to be recognized in regards to gender equity. Expanding and developing the exhibits further could improve student reception and interest in the project while better representing the successes of Hopkins women.

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