The Wingspan

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The Wingspan

The Wingspan

Women’s History Month: Katherine Parker

Teacher Katherine Parker shares the importance of Women’s Studies at Centennial and beyond.
Yeseo Lim

In an attempt to bring awareness to the struggles of women throughout history, and to celebrate their accomplishments, Centennial has their very own Women’s Studies Class. The teacher of the class, Katherine Parker, explains the importance of the class with its focus on a marginalized group in society. The main question asked and answered throughout the length of the course is: How can a group in a democracy and a capitalist system, that doesn’t have all the power, fight for social rights? As an advocate for women’s rights, Parker encourages all different types of students to take the class, noting the irony in the fact that most of the students who take the class are women, so they tend to already come into the class with knowledge of their rights, and their past. Nevertheless, the class is beneficial for everyone, because “when we improve the lives of anybody in our civilization, we’re improving the lives of everybody in our civilization,” Parker stated. Parker is an advocate for the rights of both women and other minority groups, and teaching the class allows her to share her values with others.

To Parker, being a woman means so many different things. Taking up approximately 50 percent of the population, women are the biggest and most diverse marginalized group, representing all different religions, ethnicities and sexual orientations. With so many different identities, no woman experiences the same walks through life, yet being a woman means we all share common struggles. “We need to be cautious of how we are being perceived at job interviews, and walking alone around a park at night …” Parker noted. 

Parker shared that she would not be where she is today without having inspirational female role models to look up to. Specifically, her family has paved the way for her becoming an amazing mother, teacher and feminist. Her great grandmother was a journalist in New York City in the 30s. Her grandmother was a World War II bride who experienced the whole 1970s feminist movement first hand. Her mother had a job that no other women had in her profession before. And at the same time, they were all raising their families. Parker now has a family of her own and appreciates the feminist upbringing in which she was raised and how those values instilled in her as a child has allowed her to advocate for the other minority groups within her job and within her life.   


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