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Women's History Month

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A&GS Celebrates: Women's History Month

Each year, the President marks the month of March as Women’s History month via presidential proclamation, making this a month for celebrating women’s contributions to our country’s history. The path to Women’s History Month spans over a decade of congressional resolutions and petitions:

“Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as ‘Women’s History Week.’ Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as ‘Women’s History Week.’ In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as ‘Women’s History Month.’ Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as ‘Women’s History Month.’” [the Women’s History Month website]

For more information about Women’s History Month, check out the following links: 

To celebrate and read more, see the following events and resources:  

We hope you will join us in celebrating this month, reflecting on its importance, and acknowledging the contributions of women in A&GS and beyond.  


Women's History Month, Success, Equality, Powerful Chang. College of Atmospheric and Geographic Science @ OU



University-Wide Events



A&GS Women's History Month Spotlight

WHM spotlight - Suraya Yamada-Sapien Double major in Environmental sustainability and Women's and Gender Studies. "I am guided by women in my family who have prevailed through opressions and wo have unapologetically challenged sustems to build a better future." "Women's History Month can be used to teach about equity and empowerment for women globally. We reflect on women's accomplishments in order to dream and build stronger communities. This Women's History Month, we should be centering BIPOC women, Queer women, transgender women, disabled women, and other marginalized women in conversations about inequalities. It is important to understand intersectionality and lifting as we climb the latter, socially, politically, and economically."
Image: WHM spotlight - Suraya Yamada-Sapien
"Women's History Month Raises Awareness about the Still-existing Bias Against Women". A&GS Celebrates Women's History Month. EMily Barbini a Sophomore in the School of Meteorology - "To me, Women's History Month highlights the often-unrecognized accomploisments of various women throughout historyu and throughout various fields. It also raises awareness about the still-existing bias against women, I am mostly inspired bu the women in my family, especially my mom and grandmas! I am also inspired by varous women both in the past and present. these include amelia earhart, marina rasknova, katherine stinson, anna komnene, mia hamm, katherine johnson , jackie cochron, and so much more!
Image: WHM spotlight - Emily Barbini



Women's Stories

Mary Arizona “Zonia” Baber.
Image: Mary Arizona “Zonia” Baber.

Mary Arizona "Zonia" Baber  (August 24, 1862 – January 10, 1956), was an American geographer and geologist best known for developing methods for teaching geography. Her teachings emphasized experiential learning through fieldwork and experimentation.

As Baber's hometown did not offer education beyond elementary school, she moved 130 miles to Paris, Illinois to attend high school where she lived with her uncle. After high school, she attended "Normal school" to train as a teacher.

Baber started her career as a private school principal from 1886 to 1888. She then took a job teaching at Cook County Normal School (now Chicago State University), where she served as the head of the Geography Department from 1890 to 1899. She taught the interdependence of structural geography, history, and the natural sciences. These courses focused on primarily geography, continental study, meteorology, and mathematical geography. While teaching, Baber also took classes in geology, including the first class that accepted women. She earned her Bachelor of Science in 1904.

From 1901 to 1921 Baber worked as an associate professor and head of geography and geology in the Department of Education at the University of Chicago. At the same time, she was the principal of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.

When it came to teaching, Baber preferred to focus on fieldwork—enabling her students to act and discover rather than memorize facts. Baber's teaching methods are still used today.

The student discovers too late that ordinary unrelated knowledge is not power; that only scientific knowledge—unified, related experiences—are valuable.

Baber promoted field trips and first-hand experience rather than the memorization of facts and definitions, but she also worked to improve conventional learning aids. During her time as chairwoman of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), she created a committee to scrutinize textbooks in order to replace antiquated or inappropriate phrases and concepts with ones intended to stop the perpetuation of negative prejudices.

In 1920, Baber published "A Proposal for Renaming the Solar Circles in the Journal of Geography". The north and south solar tropics are traditionally referred to as the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer, Baber proposed the name be changed to The Northern Tropic and The Southern Tropic. Today both terms are accepted in the world of geography, though no official change was made. In 1898 Baber co-founded the Geographic Society of Chicago. She served as the President and was involved with the Society for 50 years. In 1948 she received a lifetime achievement award.

To read about how Baber transformed how we teach geography, Click here!

WW1 Woman Meteorologist Working on a Weather balloon
Image: WW1 Women Meteorology

“In 1917, amidst the international armed conflict of World War I, the culturally attributed roles of American men and women became increasingly distinct and clear. It was universally known at that time that men were the breadwinners of society: they worked, they earned, and they left it all behind to defend their country.

Women, on the other hand, belonged at home with their families -- contributing to the war effort with canned food drives, victory gardens, and hand-sewn clothes were all society permitted them to do. While some women joined the workforce, public opinion was fiercely against their “insistence” on taking away from male breadwinners. Thus, the majority of women chose to remain where they thought they belonged: out of the way” until the Weather Bureau issued this announcement:


WW1 Woman Meteorologist Working on a radio
Image: WW1 Women Meteorologist

"Although there has been much prejudice against and few precedents for employing women generally for professional work in meteorology, perhaps a dozen women have obtained meteorological positions in the last few years, mostly outside of government service. However, since there is at present an acute shortage of both trained meteorologists and men for observers and clerical positions in the Weather Bureau and other government agencies, airlines, etc., women with the proper qualifications (same as for men) are now being welcomed into many places where they were not encouraged even last year (in England women have already taken over many meteorological posts, we hear). Therefore, women with training or experience in meteorology or its branches should apply immediately for any of the current or forthcoming U.S. Civil Service examinations in meteorology which are open to them...This will be an opportunity to join the vanguard of the many women who will very likely find careers in meteorology in the not-too-distant future and at the same time it will be a patriotic choice in case the war should require many women to replace or supplement men as meteorologists."

 WW2 Woman Meteorologist tying off weather balloon
Image: WW1 Woman Meteorologist


Women's History Month Join AGS in acknowledging and celebrating Women's History Month with the following resources and links. Events from ou's gender and equality center. the journal of women's history. Women in Oklahoma history. Stats from the census bureau. theWomen's History Month collection from kanopy. books by women. 50 years of title 9. Click the graphic for more information!
Image: WHM Resources and Links (pdf)
Washington post, Celebrate Women's History Month with 6 Inspiring Women in Atmospheric Sciences. Michelle HAwkingsm Ada Monzon, Susan Solomon, Bernice Ackerman, Eugenia Kalnay, and Claire Parkinson
Image: Six Inspiring Women in Atmospheric Sciences

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