A Study in Inclusion
By Steve Dodge, Rachel Burbank '09, and Leanne Santella '09
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Martha Rampton grew up in a traditional Mormon household that looked at lot like the old "Leave it to Beaver" sitcom — mom at home cooking, cleaning and caring for children while dad worked outside of the house. Even so, her parents were far from traditional for the early Sixties in encouraging Rampton and her sisters to "dream big."
"The notion that I couldn't do anything never occurred to me," she says. So, she went to college and soon enrolled in a women's studies class. At first she was not impressed. There seemed to be a lot of complaining going on. Then she saw a documentary on how young girls modeled gender behaviors of older women, such as applying lipstick, and she realized that yes, indeed, women are socialized into certain roles and activities. A light went on, and even as she later studied medieval history, she did so with an eye on women's roles through time. Now, as professor of history and director of the Center for Gender Equity at Pacific, she sees a new fourth wave of academic inquiry and social activism emerging, following earlier waves to open up education, win the right to vote and the Sixties struggle for equality and access. This fourth wave, called gender studies, includes men and all types of people in the wider struggle for basic human rights. "What's important to me being on this earth is humanitarianism, the idea of making people's lives better."