Labode to raise awareness of colonial women’s struggles

Tracy Deutmeyer

Modupe Labode wants to let people know about women’s struggles during colonial times.

She intends to do just that by speaking out to the public.

Labode, an assistant professor of history, will speak today on “Women in Colonialism,” a noon discussion to be held in the Gold Room of the Memorial Union.

“When many people think of colonial times, they think of explorers and the military, which mainly involve men,” Labode said.

“Women in Colonialism” will be the third discussion held this year for the weekly series Wednesdays at the YWCA. Program Coordinator for the YWCA, Lynn Lundy, a senior in marketing, said that it is an informational forum that aims to eliminate racism and sexism and to empower to women.

“That’s basically the YWCA’s philosophy,” Lundy said.

Labode will speak about topics such as the impact of the historical system on women’s movement in the West, women’s suffrage and women’s participation in the Nationalist movement.

“People that saw the movie Out of Africa see a brave white women who made it through hardships, but they don’t see that she struggled through a system of exploitation in Kenya,” Labode said.

Labode said she wants people to see the experience of gender in the historical system.

“When people hear stories about women of the past, they often think of the triumphs. But I don’t just want them to see the triumphs, but the complications as well. And the colonial times were very complicated,” she said.

Labode teaches History 377, “Women in Imperialism,” a class that focuses on the same issues she will talk about today.

Labode has also spoken to the freshman honors program about woman in colonialism.

Lundy said that Labode is an expert on African-American History.

“She is going to talk about the role that women played in colonialism because they are hardly ever mentioned. You don’t get a feel for what or where they were. They are not mentioned very much in history,” Lundy said.

For future discussions, Lundy hopes to create more awareness thus bringing in a larger audience.

“I suggest they bring a bag lunch since it is over the noon hour,” Lundy said.

YWCA’s Jeanne Higgs said the YWCA’s future Wednesday discussions include, “How a Woman’s College Affects a Woman’s Education,” on Sept. 25 and “The Term ‘Race.’ Is It Appropriate?” on Oct. 9.