Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State recognizes accomplished women, celebrates right to vote

September 5, 2013

Dressed as a suffragist of the early 1900s, Marsha Miller hummed a note, sheepishly apologized to the audience for not warming up and began to sing.

"It's her right to train the children in the home and in the school, to help in framing statutes and determining who should rule, and like a man to cast her ballot for a statesman or a fool, as she goes marching on," she sang to the tune of "John Brown's Body."

Indiana State University faculty, staff and students during a reception on Aug. 26 celebrated Women's Equality Day, recognizing the 93rd anniversary of passage of the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote.

University president Dan Bradley proclaimed Indiana State's recognition of Women's Equality Day saying, "I call upon the university community to applaud and support the success of women at Indiana State University and in our community, and to work diligently to remove existing barriers to women's equality in our own community and around the world."

Women make up 57 percent of college undergraduates nationwide and 55 percent of ISU's student population, said Bradley. He also recognized several female faculty members including four who have been promoted to full professor, 11 who have received tenure promotion, five who have received university-wide awards and "numerous women who are in leadership roles across campus."

"We can be proud that ISU strives to address these issues; we cannot afford to let down our vigilance and commitment to equality," said Bradley.

Ruth Fairbanks a lecturer of interdisciplinary programs also acknowledged the importance of remaining committed to women's equality, calling for "ever-vigilant observation and ever-vigilant accountability."

"This is a commitment that today we should make for ourselves, to hold onto the gains that we have made and to push those gains further for ourselves, for our colleagues, for our own children and also for our students," she said.

Indiana State University created one of the first women's studies programs in the country and currently has 342 students enrolled in women's studies courses. One women's study minor student, Hanna Brant, was recognized during the reception for receiving ISU's Mary Elizabeth Owens Daily Award given to an outstanding student in the minor.

"Hanna is the next generation working toward full women's equality," said Fairbanks.

Brant, a junior political science major, wants to earn a Ph. D. and become a tenured professor. She said that there are many challenges to women in the professional world, but is thankful for the example that female faculty members have set for her at ISU.

"I can't say that I'm really fearful about entering the workforce and continuing this path because of many women in this room," she said.

Bradley emphasized the importance of Indiana State places on women's rights and continuing to send prepared and educated young women, such as Brant, into the workforce.

"For decades [Indiana State] has sent young women into professions and the community with the important knowledge of women's past struggles, prepared for work yet to be done and ready to have an impact on American culture and policy," he said.

Photos: Miller sings a suffragist song during Women's Equality Day. Brant speaks to attendees after receiving the Mary Elizabeth Owens Daily Award.

Contact: Emily Sturgess, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3773,