Women’s Rights

Arturo Márquez’s composition Alas (Wings) is dedicated to Malala Yousafsai, a Pakistani activist and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known mainly for human rights advocacy for education for women and children.

Traditionally a men’s college, Miami University opened its doors to women in 1885, and in 1912, a group called the Women’s Self Government Organization was founded. All women automatically belonged, and the group served as a women’s parallel to men’s student government. During the 1950’s, the title of the group was changed to the Association for Women Students. Historically, some issues addressed by AWS included visitation hours, women students’ living situations, and dress codes.

Curiously enough, this is directly related to the creation of ASG. In 1974, women’s and men’s government merged to create what is now Associated Student Government (ASG), and AWS no longer automatically included all women.In October 1979, the Oxford chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) held Oxford’s first Take Back the Night March to increase awareness about sexual assault and violence against women. In light of the march, the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) (founded in 1977 with a mission to help and support women) began offering a discussion and support group for survivors of rape or sexual assault.

Today, sexual assault in university campuses is one of the major challenges addressed by administrations around the country. Using panels, classes, speakers, conferences, consciousness raising groups, and peer education programs, feminists continue to spread their message through campus and Oxford’s community.

(Based on the Guide to Activism at Miami University with contributions by Kaeden Kass, Women’s Center Ambassador, 2013 and Miami University Symphony Orchestra alum)