On Dec. 4, Dr. Maize Hough, an associate professor of history and women’s gender and sexuality studies, delivered the final lecture of the semester for the Women’s Gender & Sexuality (WGS) Studies Colloquium. Hough’s lecture, titled: “If you go to her home you know where she is coming from: The Grassroots Birth Control Movement in Maine, 1967 to 1983,” explored the development of sexual and reproductive healthcare for women in the state, and was based on interviews she had conducted with participants in the movement.
Mabel Wadsworth, one of Dr. Hough’s interviewees, played a major role in the movement in question.
Wadsworth was born in Rochester, New York in 1910 and attended the University of Rochester School of Nursing, where she began her career in the discipline. In the 1940s she moved to Bangor and immediately joined the Maternal Health League, a group of nurses and doctors’ wives, whose goal was to provide birth control for economically disadvantaged women in the area.
Wadsworth dedicated the remainder of her life to the furthering of this issue, and is now the namesake for the Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center in Bangor, which opened in 1984.
The University of Maine has recognized Wadsworth personally, bestowing upon her the Maryann Hartman Award and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. In 1990, Wadsworth was one of the first to be inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame, along with longtime Maine Senator and Representative Margaret Chase Smith.
Throughout the lecture, Hough included anecdotes about her interviews, and commented on the legislative changes that have affected the birth control movement, both in Augusta and in Washington D.C.
Hough’s lecture was the third of three lectures in the WGS colloquium series this semester.
The first two lectures were delivered by Dr. Leah Hakkola and Dr. Judith Rosenbaum in October and November, respectively. Each touched on a separate issue related to women’s, gender and sexuality studies.
Along with her appointment in the History Department, Hough has been part of the WGS Program since 1993, when it was known as the Women in the Curriculum and Women’s Studies Program and focused on revising the curriculum of different departments in order to make sure that they included “more by and about women,” according to Hough.
“About six years ago we changed our name to be more inclusive,” Hough said. “We now have classes on a wide range of gender issues.”
According to information provided by Laurie Cartier, an administrative specialist in the WGS program, there are currently 16 courses offered by the program each semester.
“Our topics courses can cover a wide variety of topics and are also frequently used to cross list with courses from other departments,” Cartier said. “We are offering [six] of these this semester and will be offering [five] in the Spring.”
“At this time we have 27 majors and 25 minors,” Cartier added.
Due to the success of the colloquia held this semester, the WGS Program has decided to sponsor four lectures in the spring semester of 2019, which will be given by Dr. Shannon McCoy on Jan. 24, Dr. Elizabeth Neiman on Feb. 5, Dr. Jessica Miller on Mar. 5 and Dr. Elizabeth Armstrong on Apr. 2.
Each of these lectures will be delivered from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in the Bangor Room of the Memorial Union.
For more information, you can visit the Women’s Gender & Sexuality Program in room 201 in Fernald Hall and get in touch at 581-1228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.