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Her story: Gail Collins on 'America's Women'

March 23, 2005

Image of the cover of Gail Collins's book "America's Women"Among the Women's History Month activities at SFSU is a visit on Monday, March 28, from Gail Collins, former UPI reporter, political columnist and current head of the editorial board at The New York Times. Collins will discuss the importance of women in leadership roles and sign copies of her third book, "America's Women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines." The event is free and will take place at 5:30 p.m. in Jack Adams Hall in the Cesar Chavez Student Center.

The book begins with Pocahantas and the arrival of European women and concludes with the feminist campaigns of the 1970s. Collins, who worked on the book for four years, says it is "less a war against oppressive men than a struggle to straighten out the perpetually mixed message about women's roles that was accepted by almost everybody of both genders."

While Collins acknowledges that most women continue to struggle with the tension between roles at home and at work, she writes that American women in particular have yet another obligation: "We have to join hands with women in underdeveloped countries … to make sure that the opportunities we have get transported to the rest of the world."

Many women and men in the field of journalism think Collins made history herself in 2001 when she became the first woman to head the Times' editorial board. She downplays this accomplishment, but SFSU assistant professor of journalism Rachele Kanigel says that it is no small matter that a woman now heads up the editorial staff of one of the most powerful newspapers in the world. "Obviously she penetrated a bastion of male dominance," says Kanigel. "This is important, especially when you consider that the majority of SFSU journalism students this year are women."

Collins' visit to SFSU is sponsored by President Robert A. Corrigan, SFSU's Urban Institute, Associated Students and a partnership between The New York Times and the Association of American State Colleges and Universities' American Democracy Project, which develops programs aimed to build student understanding and commitment to civic affairs.

For more information on Collins and her books, see the HarperCollins Web site.

-- Denize Springer


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Last modified March 23, 2005 by University Communications