Education on the role of women in science fiction — which has been gravely overlooked — was brought by Rosanne Welch at Cal Poly Pomona’s University Library last Thursday, April 25.

Welch discussed several different women in this genre.

Not only in books and written works, but also in television and movies.

She was very passionate about the subject and the significance of women in the genre which many fail to acknowledge.

“It’s a place where audiences and writers go to discuss the issues of the world in a safe place,” Welch said, in regards to science fiction.

Rosanne Welch lecturing on the importance of shedding light on women in the realms of science fiction (Daniela Avila / The Poly Post)

Welch began the lecture with the woman that started it all — Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Shelley is responsible for writing the famous novel “Frankenstein.”

This was written in 1818; however, she asked that the book remained anonymous due to the reactions of a woman writing such a dark and challenging work. Her intentions were to sit back and wait for the book to be judged based off of merit not the author.

It wasn’t until 1823 that her name was placed on the cover.

Something else that was interesting was the number of women that had to change their names into abbreviations or go by a different name altogether because nobody would want to read a book written by a female.

The famous J.K Rowling abbreviated her name because a book written by a Joanne probably wouldn’t sell.

Alice Mary Norton went by Andre Norton.

It’s an old-fashioned controversy that is still apparent in works that we read today.

Leigh Bracket was hired by George Lucas to write the continued saga for Star Wars. However, when the story was in the works of publishing, she passed away so George Lucas finished the rest.

Bracket did a lot of the groundwork for developing the storyline, but is not the person people immediately credit for it.

Lieutenant Nyota Uhura from Star Trek was played by an African American woman, Nichelle Nichols.

According to Rosanne Welch, Nichols was planning on leaving the show until she ran into Martin Luther King Jr. one day and he convinced her to stay because she was representing a woman of color in the future.

She ended up being the person to influence Mae Carol Jemison, the first African American woman in space.

Overall, the presentation was refreshing and made a statement, especially in today’s day and age.

Women are uprising and it is important to give credit where it is deserved.

“I knew this would be a good presentation because it talks about women, talks about empowerment, and the history of us growing,” said Milan Robertson, a third-year communication major.

Meanwhile, others enjoyed it simply because it was something different.

“I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I came into this,” said Kaitlyn Jabourian, a second-year hospitality management major. “I’m just glad that I came, I think this is exactly the kind of motivation that I needed; to know that women are capable of doing these things.”

It’s important to educate ourselves about these matters because of the mark that they leave in history and today’s society.

All of these women stood for something important and did it to inspire the many women that will come after them to hopefully prosper and do more.

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