It is my hope that high school teachers interested in women in literature and life will not only join WILLA, but will share with their peers to promote better understanding of the role of women in education.
We know that many members of NCTE are already strong advocates; the presentations at the '91 convention in Seattle reflected this interest. There were about ten topics which focused on women, e.g., "Women's Ways of Learning, Writing, and Teaching"; "Issues in Gender and Writing"; "Hear Our Voices, Know Our Needs." If these presentations were as well received as the two I attended, there is a real need for more communication than that provided at an annual convention. The two presentations I saw were SRO, although "Literary Voices: The Female Protagonist" was assigned to a miniscule room. One of this group of speakers was Sorel Berman, who presented a comprehensive paper on the literary contributions of Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Anzia Yezierska, Zora Neale Hurston, and Maya Angelou. Another presenter, Barbara Freiberg, deftly intertwined two amazing 19th century females in "Kate Chopin and Mary Cassatt: Twentieth Century Women in a Nineteenth Century World." The large audiences and the enthusiastic reception at both of these reflect an enormous interest in the subject of women in literature and life.
Consider this column a call for manuscripts, syllabi, teaching techniques, or full lessons which focus on women in literature or life. There may be work issues that we need to address. Any concern of yours should be a concern of ours in this area. We want to see WILLA become one of the first links of communication among high school teachers interested in these subjects.