During the month of March, there’s typically one thing on everyone’s mind: basketball. However, some forget that it’s also Women’s History Month.
Kimberley DeSimone, a journalism and mass communication lecturer at St. Bonaventure, and Pauline Hoffmann, dean of the school of communication, came up with the idea of making a bracket like the ones basketball fans use for March Madness.
“It was at the Woman of Promise ceremony a few years ago when someone said ‘I didn’t even know March was Women’s History Month,’ and [DeSimone] said, ‘That’s because all you hear about in March is basketball. There should be a bracket for women,’” Hoffmann said. “And we thought about it, and it took us these past couple years to get that idea off the ground.”
The bracket consists of four different categories that women are sectioned off into including government, business, advocacy and STEM. Hoffmann said that next year, there might be more categories like arts, entertainment or writing after some suggestions from other faculty members.
Some of the women on the bracket include Harriet Tubman, Marie Curie, Oprah Winfrey and Sandra Day O’Connor.
“We focused on the women who were first to do something; we focused on diversity so it wasn’t just white women; we made it international so it wasn’t just the U.S.,” Hoffmann said. “We also have women who are impacting the world now and are alive, but we also have women who impacted history but aren’t alive anymore.”
People have the option to vote online for who they think should win each round. Overall, the reception has been positive, according to Hoffmann.
“I’d love it if it was talked about as much as March Madness…I hope it’ll pick up speed once we get to the Sweet 16. Starting at 64 women may have been a little daunting for people,” she said.
A women’s history major, junior Juliette Bauer, had a different opinion.
“Truthfully, I find it hard to believe that this will ever get as much attention as it might deserve,” she said. “I think it’s a wonderful undertaking, and I think that the choices were carefully crafted, and a lot of wonderful, well-meaning work went into it, but I’m not sure that competition is going to be a way to really bring people into this topic.”
The main reason behind creating the bracket is to raise awareness of the underappreciated work women have done throughout history, according to Hoffmann. She added that having this bracket is especially important this year.
Bauer agreed and said that educating people on these important women is critical to society.
“…Women who are not exposed to them cannot emulate them and others cannot learn to respect them… Right now, our world desperately needs concrete examples of just how badass women can be, and how aggressively they can dismantle stereotypes based on gender, race, economic status, ability, age, etc.,” she said.
The bracket can be found online at marchintowomenshistory.wordpress.com, and voting continues throughout the whole month. The winner of the bracket will be announced on March 30.