Opinion: Women receive global recognition

Genesis Hansen, Columnist

Invisible status of women brought to light with International Women’s Day.

Why should we care about international celebrations of women? Why is it important to talk about women’s history, their struggles and status in society?

International Women’s Day started after a series of women suffrage issues surfaced. Annually celebrated March 8, women are empowered and are given a platform to vocalize the lack of equality that they receive from their respective societies. 

With marches, petitions, public speeches and movements blossoming all over the world, global society has recognized the need to unwind the patriarchal structure and proliferate equal rights.

Carole Pateman, a contemporary political scientist and feminist concerned with democracy, criticizes the elitists and patriarchal structures in our culture. Pateman is known for “The Sex Contract,” a feminist rendition of John Locke’s assertion of the social contract.

Social contract theory is the idea that every person who is a part of a society regulates the welfare and relations among its members while ensuring the protection of their rights. One must also give up rights to promote peace and help establish mutual expectations and vulnerability in the community.

Now the contract Pateman purposes states the extra rights women must give up to be a member of society, the consequences of losing those rights and why it is unjust. 

Using this to understand the oppression tangled in society, we have achieved an increase in female empowerment in education as well as more opportunities for women to thrive. 

Samantha Finlay, a senior majoring in philosophy and minoring in Spanish, became engrossed in the field and has been committed ever since after being introduced to philosophy through political thought. 

“Not many people know what philosophy is and I think that philosophy uses a lot of great methodologies that provoke the imagination and creativity,” Finlay said.

Looking beyond graduation, Finlay sees herself in the Peace Corps. She hopes to see more female philosophy majors, so that there is a greater diversity range represented in the field.

“I get the sense that the philosophical connon isn’t always concerned with feminist philosophers and isn’t often asking questions for them,” Finlay said. “But I think our department does a good job with empowering all of their students.”

Flora Leibowitz has been a professor of philosophy at Oregon State University since 1977. Primarily occupied with analytical Anglo-American philosophy, she is curious about art, knowledge and the minds of human and non-human animals.

As Leibowitz was going through her education, she noticed an underrepresentation of women philosophers and writers in the canon.

“There were maybe three or four women mentioned in philosophy in my education. I remember thinking how cool it was to not only know there were women philosophers, but to learn about their ideas as well,” Leibowitz said.

Along with Finlay, Leibowitz recognized that OSU’s philosophy department is diverse in gender, and strives to create diversity within the field. 

“As the famous saying goes, ‘Be the change you wish to see,’” Leibowitz said. “Don’t be intimidated, you’re not alone.” 

Leibowitz expressed the desire to see more women in this field and encourages women to be curious, to pursue what interests them and to have confidence in their abilities.

Philosophy is concerned with asking questions that help us identify problems and reason our way through to solutions. Having a diverse assortment of ideas and people in the field contributes to our understanding of the human condition and rounds out our society’s ideas and culture. 

Fortunately, the historical movements women have participated in and stood for, have opened up the world of knowledge and widened our scope of experience. Celebrating women and empowering diverse perspective is fundamental to the shift in the voices represented in all areas from academia

to societal structures.

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