Women's History Month

Posted by Natasha Martin, JD, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion on Friday, March 5, 2021 at 4:32 PM PST

Women come from a whole range of backgrounds.
If our visions of peace don’t include these differences, then our peace will be partial.

—Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw

 Dear Seattle University Community,

This week began with Women’s International History Day, which recognizes the contributions of women worldwide and raises awareness of the continued challenges to their full empowerment. We salute the women of our university community for their leadership, achievements, and unyielding commitment to our educational mission. We honor the uncommon impact of women at Seattle University, including our students, staff, faculty, administrators, and alumnae. We are a stronger institution because of their leadership.

To celebrate the contributions of our women colleagues and students, we share Uncommon Impact, an ad in this month’s Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, which highlights the accomplishments of women in higher education and this month honors Vice President Kamala Harris. Aligned with the spirit of LIFT SU, we aim foremost to acknowledge our colleagues, as well as to expand the visibility of Seattle University. Additionally, here are a few Zoom backgrounds you can consider using throughout the remainder of the month. Thanks to Marketing Communications for its partnership to honor our colleagues and represent a range of diverse women’s voices.

As a Jesuit university, our mission and values call us to acknowledge and address women’s oppression in all forms. This week, the Jesuit order announced the Commission on the Role and Responsibilities of Women in the Society of Jesus. As noted by Arturo Sosa, S.J., the superior general of the Jesuits, the commission represents a deep commitment to “strengthen the mission of the Society with the active participation of women” based on “mutual respect, care and solidarity between men and women.” This development presents an opportunity for reflection on the role of women in contemporary society for enhanced inclusion and collaboration. President Sundborg notes about its significance, “The announcement of this commission by the superior general is very promising. It builds on the leadership of the Jesuits in 1995 in officially speaking of the role of women in our Jesuit works and in society. Key then and key now will be to listen to the experience of women speaking in their own voice. I hope that we will have an opportunity in that way for the women of Seattle U to contribute to the work of this commission.” 

Importantly, we must not only celebrate the contributions of women colleagues and students, but also acknowledge the work ahead to promote their thriving. In that spirit, we draw your attention to two resources that provide insight into the power of women’s leadership on our campus and beyond. One is the inaugural season of the Red Talks series “Women’s Voices at the Intersection,” which features interdisciplinary expertise of some of our colleagues. And the second is Presumed Incompetent II: Race, Class, Power, and Resistance of Women in Academia, edited by Yolanda Flores Niemann, Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs and Carmen G. Gonzalez (University Press of Colorado, 2020), which offers a range of personal narratives, along with research and ideas for advancing women’s full participation in academic life. The intersectional realities of women’s experiences must continue to inform our shared work toward justice, equity, and inclusion.

It takes a village to harness the power of our differences and our women colleagues and students continually show us the way. Here’s to the liberation of women around the globe and in our campus community.

In solidarity,

Natasha Martin, JD
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion


Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J.

Shane P. Martin, PhD

Michelle Clements
Vice President for Human Resources

Alvin Sturdivant, EdD
Vice President of Student Development