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From the top

Hats, headdresses explored at Women’s History Month program

By By Gena Checki

Attendees learn about the importance of women’s hats and headdresses during a Women's History Month presentation

Photo by: Deb Parrilli

Attendees learned about the significance and impact of women’s hats and headdresses during a presentation in March for Women’s History Month. Tammi Summers, Gateway director of student support, led the discussion on the Kenosha Campus.

For centuries, women have worn hats and headdresses for practical, symbolic, religious and cultural reasons. As part of the Gateway observance of Women’s History Month, “The History of Hats and Headdresses Around the World” was presented March 18 on the Kenosha Campus.

The event served as a way “to educate and elevate our knowledge in the Gateway community regarding women’s headdresses, hats and veils, and their significance both culturally and religious(ly),” said Tammi Summers, Gateway director of student support.

Headdresses are a part of women’s history, especially in the Islamic culture. “Their veil and covering is a part of their religious obligation,” Summers said.

Summers also pointed out that there are now more modern Islamic women who are choosing to wear their veils and be proud of their culture. This is significant because now women have the right to choose. The movie “Veiled Voices” was shown and it illustrated this point.

The significance of headdresses varies depending on the culture. In Nigeria, and in other African countries, colorful and elaborate headdresses usually are worn by the matriarch of a family and they are known as crowns or presentation wraps. These headdresses are usually coordinated with an outfit and are a way women have of presenting themselves to others and showing respect to God. Most often, these headdresses are worn to weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies.

Gateway Business Management student Abby Moorehead attended the hats and headdresses program because of her interest in hat design.

“I would like to own my own hat design business someday, and this event confirms that vision,” Moorehead said.

Likewise, Gateway General Marketing/Business Management student Serena Jones said she has had a fascination with hats because in her Greek and Spanish family, hats usually are worn at funerals.

Gateway Early Childhood student Melissa Lewis was less familiar with the topic, but said she enjoyed learning something new.

“It’s something I’ve never heard about and so I decided to learn about the different cultures and headdresses,” Lewis said.

The theme for this year’s Women’s History Month was “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment.”