The Editorial Board celebrates inspirational women

The Editorial Board celebrates inspirational women

Photo Credits: AGGIE FILE

For Women’s History Month, members of the Editorial Board honor women who have influenced our lives

Anjini Venugopal, Editor-in-Chief

A couple years ago my sister insisted that I watch a show on Netflix—as a devoted fan of all things cooking, I proceeded to watch the entirety of “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” in one sitting. I read Samin Nosrat’s book of the same name after watching the show; breaking down cooking to four core components felt revolutionary to me as I was living in an apartment and cooking (mostly quinoa in an instant pot) for myself for the first time. Nosrat’s genuine, unabashed joy toward cooking and food is contagious, and her discussions of food as culture, community and everything in between are nuanced and refreshing. But her sincerity is not limited to food and her own work; in an interview with The New Yorker last year, Nosrat said she’d rather discuss climate change or her mental health than promoting her own work. On Instagram last month, she shared the “sad truth” about her lack of appetite or desire to cook during the pandemic—her brand (if you want to call it that) has to do with food, but she doesn’t shy away from important issues that can impact anyone. We all could benefit from being more honest and vulnerable, and Nosrat’s openness can teach us all. 

Margo Rosenbaum, Managing Editor

Ever since I first discovered the comedic science podcast “Ologies,” I have admired its creator Alie Ward: an intelligent, hilarious and bada** science communicator. By urging listeners to “ask smart people dumb questions,” Ward illustrates her desire to make science intriguing and tangible for all audiences. Ward’s energy is infectious and I appreciate her excitement toward topics that not everyone would be instantly drawn to, like flatworms or scorpions. I find myself enjoying these eccentric episodes the most, as I hear about topics that otherwise I may have never known. In her effort to engage her audience, Ward includes her own interview questions as well as those from listeners, creating a unique opportunity for individuals to interact directly with experts. In many scientific literature and podcasts, extensive prior knowledge in the sciences is required in order to understand the intricacies of the described research. This is not the case with “Ologies.” Ward circumvents this barrier by including asides in the middle of interviews, where she breaks down complicated scientific terms into language that all audiences can understand. As skepticism toward science increases in our world, creators like Ward are so necessary for keeping the public informed and involved in the field of science. As someone who is very interested in pursuing a career in science communication, I admire Ward’s work in “Ologies” and I aspire to highlight research in a similar way—granting individuals the power to appreciate science and apply it to their own lives. 

Sabrina Habchi, Campus News Editor

Alice Paul is the reason I am a political science major today. Frankly, I would be surprised if most of the people reading this had even heard of Alice Paul, because, despite taking every single Advanced Placement history class offered by my high school, I first learned about her during my first fall quarter at UC Davis in my History of American Women and Gender course. We watched “Iron Jawed Angels,” a film that portrays Paul and fellow suffragettes fighting for the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. Nearly four years later, I still remember Hilary Swank, who plays Paul, and some fellow actors dramatically unveiling a banner that read “Mr. President, what will you do for woman suffrage” while the actor portraying then-President Woodrow Wilson was giving a speech. I started UC Davis as an undeclared major but that scene is ingrained into my mind, because it is when I decided on a future career of creating political change. Over 100 years later, a constitutional amendment that acknowledges equity between American men and women still does not exist. If we don’t even acknowledge that existence in the document we consider the highest law in the land, how will it ever be reflected in our society? The sad truth is I know that even if I am fundamental to a movement in my future, it is unlikely I—like Alice Paul—will be learned about in general history courses. Historians decide what goes into our history books and history teachers decide who they think is the most important for us to learn about. Please do better. Women’s stories are not just a subset of history to be learned about in one college class—they are history.

Eden Winniford, City News Editor

I have always admired Dorothy Parker for her wit and sharp criticisms of social issues. She helped found the Algonquin Round Table in New York City, which was notorious for attracting some of the most prolific and ruthlessly funny writers of the 1920s—although most of its members were men. Some of her short stories and poems detail her struggles with mental health, and many others focus on femininity and the tribulations of love. Even though it was written in 1930, it’s impossible not to relate to the protagonist of “A Telephone Call,” waiting desperately for her careless suitor to call her and wrestling away the urge to call him first. “The Waltz” is also unfortunately still familiar for many, describing the inner agony of a woman stuck with a bad dancing partner because she didn’t want to kick up a fuss by turning him down. Parker’s works don’t shy away from negative depictions of womanhood, and her stories encourage the reader to laugh and suffer along with the female characters as they navigate love and loss. Both in life and after death she used her privilege as a white woman to support the Civil Rights Movement, leaving her estate—which included all of her literary works—to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and later to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 

Calvin Coffee, Opinion Editor

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is one of the most mind-blowing writers and artists in the world right now—she’s also the reason why the Kessel Run was even possible. As a storyteller her ability to realistically convey the messy, hysterical and tragic parts of our lives is second to no one. From “Killing Eve” to “Fleabag,” Waller-Bridge crafts original, thoughtful work by interweaving equally hilarious and gut-wrenching moments throughout her stories. Having seen seasons one and two of “Fleabag” countless times, I cannot think of a story that deals with the complexities of being human in such an honest way. I think more and more these days we need to seek out things that make us think critically and things that make us laugh deeply—Waller-Bridge’s work does just that. She’s an inspiration to everyone out there who wants to tell stories, who puts themselves into their work and who deals with the hells of writing on a regular basis—I can’t wait to see all that she does in the future. 

Sophie Dewees, Features Editor

As a student journalist in the 21st century, the right to freedom of expression was always something I could take for granted. When I was an editor of a publication in high school, I could push back against my advisor if I felt strongly about publishing a certain article because I knew my rights were protected by landmark Supreme Court decisions and the Student Free Expression Law (California Education Code 48907). But this right that seems so inherent and fundamental to me now would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of students who came before me like Mary Beth Tinker. As a 13-year-old in 1965, she protested the Vietnam War with a small group of her classmates by wearing a black armband to school. She was consequently suspended. In response, the students filed a First Amendment lawsuit that reached the Supreme Court four years later in 1969. The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Tinker, stating that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” The historic Tinker v. Des Moines case has allowed for further student activism in public schools such as wearing pro-LGBTQ+ t-shirts. Since the 60s, Tinker has gone on to educate students and young people about their rights through her “Tinker Tour” and has continued to be a fierce advocate for the freedom of speech.

Allie Bailey, Arts & Culture Editor

I feel very lucky to be inspired by the women I surround myself with (they say that you are the average of the people you spend the most time with, so it’s a pretty good deal for me). For starters, there’s my mom, who has awed me with her patience, intelligence, self-determination and perseverance since I was old enough to recognize her as a person beyond just a human whose life revolves around me. There’s my best friends from high school, Paisley and Fina, with whom I have a connection only some are lucky enough to experience. They are both constant inspirations: Paisley, with her confidence, her knowledge of random sayings, her ability to conversate with anyone and her commitment to friendship; and Fina, with her thoughtfulness, creativity, ambition and the way she cares for her friends by knowing us better than we know ourselves, always there to ground us. I’m fortunate enough to feel this way about my housemates too: From a D1 athlete, to an engineer, to a painter/rugmaker, to my littlest roommate who is passionate about the littlest things, they each compel me to push myself mentally, physically and creatively. And of course, my beautiful girlfriend inspires me every day—she is knowledgeable, witty and resilient, among so many other traits that I admire. All of these women possess qualities that I strive for, and as such, make me the best version of myself. Their presence in my life is something I am endlessly grateful for. 

Omar Navarro, Sports Editor

My biggest inspiration in my life is my mom, who I can go on and on about the different ways she’s affected my life. But for the sake of not mentioning the obvious, I decided to go in a different direction. With sports being a huge part of my life, I have witnessed countless inspirational women who have grown throughout time. But, my biggest influence and admiration goes for more than just one woman, but rather the entire Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). From their countless hours working for LGBTQ+ athletes and becoming the first pro league to establish a Pride campaign, to their marvelous social justice work as a league and by its individual players. The WNBA always seems ahead of the curve when it comes to social topics and I feel like they don’t get as much recognition as they should. Growing women’s athletics is big on its own, but the work they do off the court has been amazing. They are not only inspirational to me, but to a next generation, as they have such great people to look up to. As a major sports fan, I am greatly appreciative for their progressive attitude that has shaped a lot of the sports I love. Their attitude towards talking about what’s right over what’s good for business is something that I hope many more will notice soon.

Madeleine Payne, Science Editor

Some of the women who have inspired me the most are the female scientists and researchers I’ve been able to interview while working at the Science and Technology Desk. Most of them have dedicated their whole career to studying their discipline and have worked tirelessly for years to advance their field. Whether speaking about a new finding they’ve discovered or a concept they’ve known for years, our conversations often push me to learn more about their discipline and their career path, leading me to explore different options in my own career. Occasionally, they share the sacrifices they have made—most often between their careers and their family lives—and their ability to navigate these tough decisions while maintaining their dedication to research has always inspired and motivated me to keep up my own studies.

Written by: The Editorial Board