Presently, the role of women at Santa Clara University is seldom brought into question. Women students, staff, and faculty are now well integrated into campus life and are equally represented among the university population. However, this wasn’t always the case. Prior to 1961, women’s role on campus was largely limited to supporting family and friends attached to this university, without being given the opportunity to be full members its student population.
Top Down and Bottom Up examines the history of female students on this campus with the hopes of amplifying their experiences at Santa Clara University, past and present. With the assistance of the Santa Clara University Archives & Special Collections, our research uses university documents and other archival materials to identify and assess the placement of women on campus across institutional settings, both formal and informal.
Tierra Abeyta’s exhibit, Stepping Stones: Toward Coed Matriculation, demonstrates the progression women associated with this university took to becoming full-time students, and a recognized presence, on this campus.
Mara Strong’s exhibit, Deconstructing Dichotomies: Tracking the Spatial Change of Gendered Geographies at Santa Clara University, further breaks down the ways in which women were either welcomed or resisted in physical and metaphysical spaces on this campus. Strong’s exhibit also brings into question ‘gendering’ of spaces, and how the process of gendering is manifested.
Lastly, Mara Cassin’s exhibit, Title IX, Catholic Theology, and Co-Eds: The Fight to Move from Exclusivity to Inclusive Feminism at SCU, discusses the intersection of feminism and Catholicism, and how each has historically influenced the student, and specifically female, population here at Santa Clara.