Oral Histories of West Marin Farming Women

In partnership with the Marin History Museum, students in Mairi Pileggi’s colloquium course, “Women and Narrative of the Other,” recently conducted oral history interviews with women in the West Marin farming community. As with all courses in the WGS program, the students underwent a rigorous theoretical and reflective process wherein they confronted their personal and cultural biases.

Among other issues, the students grappled with the often silent or misrepresented narrative of the Latino community in farming.

I was surprised to find educated women in farming,” says Graciela Rodriguez, a student in Mairi’s course, “and disturbed that I held these stereotypes. I’m trained (in my job) not to stereotype other women.”

Many students are becoming empowered through the Women and Gender Studies Program to step out of their comfort zone and to critically consider and actively tackle issues of equality across gender, ethnic, economic, and religious lines. With nineteen young women currently on board-- seven in the major (including four double majors) and twelve minors— the program, now in its fourth year, is increasingly being recognized by students as an invaluable element of their intellectual, creative, and vocational lives.

Anne Ting sums up the feeling of many. She’s learned, among other things, “the value of being a woman today through confidence, perseverance, and acceptance of others.”

Look for the oral histories and photographs soon on the Marin History Museum web site.