Women’s History Month began as a one-day observance on Feb. 28, 1909, in honor of the one-year anniversary of a garment workers’ strike that saw 15,000 women march through the streets of New York City to demand economic and political rights.
In 1978, an education task force in Santa Rosa, California, began a “Women’s History Week” celebration on March 8.
In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation designating the week of March 8, 1980, as National Women’s History Week; and finally, in 1987, the entire month of March was declared National Women’s History Month when Congress passed Public Law 100-9.
Purdue University Fort Wayne is proud to be celebrating this year’s Women’s History Month with the theme “Women Refusing to be Silenced,” which comes from the national theme, “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.”
“Women’s History Month is not only an opportunity for reflecting upon and celebrating women’s accomplishments,” said Janet Badia, Ph.D., director of the university’s Women’s Studies program. “It’s also a political gesture: the very existence of the month asks us to consider the construction of history—for example, who has written it and who has been written out of it—and why it’s even necessary to designate a special month to women’s history, lives, and experiences.”
MarTeze Hammonds, Ed.D., Purdue Fort Wayne’s chief diversity officer, believes the university’s observance of Women’s History Month helps many better realize the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus and beyond.
“As we become more culturally competent, learning about the many different cultures that make up this great society, we can become more culturally confident in taking actions to mitigate and eliminate unconscious biases and systemic barriers that preclude equity for all,” Hammonds said. “Women’s History Month is a time to LEARN about the many contributions of women, to GROW our individual selves, and to ACT through intentional work that leads to closing gaps, providing access, and celebrating the success of women.”
As the student outreach coordinator with the Center for Women and Returning Adults, Cicelle Beemon has led the charge to offer a variety of events throughout March dedicated to understanding women’s history.
“Our goal in celebrating Women’s History Month is to uplift the voices of the women from our past and present and to empower everyone, from all walks of life, to use their voices to create a better future,” said Beemon.
Those who attend the events will learn about the intersectionality of women and Blackness; dive into the world of women and writing; explore the meaning and shattering of the glass ceiling; and enjoy a screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary film RGB.
All Women’s History Month 2021 Events are free and open to both the campus and the community.
March 15: Women and Imposter Syndrome in Higher Education
Time: 5–6:30 p.m.
Event Access: WebEx; meeting number: 120 157 8514; password: CWRA
Description: Have you ever felt like you’re just faking your way through your professional life or college career? As if one of these days everyone will realize you’re just not qualified to be where you are? It’s not uncommon to feel this way. Join the event sponsors, the Center for Women and Returning Adults and the Career Development Center, in discussing the different intersections of Imposter Syndrome that affect our experiences.
Giveaway: The first 20 students who join the virtual event will receive a $5 food coupon, which can be redeemed in the Center for Women and Returning Adults, Walb Union, Room 120, Monday, Wednesday, or Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
March 16: “Black Women Matter”
Time: 5–6:30 p.m.
Event Access: WebEx; meeting number: 120 798 9136; password: CWRA
Description: Learn how women of color have refused to be silent in the face of adversity. Co-sponsored by the Center for Women and Returning Adults and the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.
Giveaway: First 20 students will receive $5 food coupon.
March 17: Feminism for the 99%: A Book Discussion
Time: 6 p.m.
Event Access: Zoom; email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link.
Description: Facilitated by Mary Ann Cain, professor of English and affiliated faculty for Women’s Studies at PFW, and Nancy Welch, professor of English at the University of Vermont. Free copies of the book are available to students attending the virtual discussion. Email email@example.com to arrange to pick up a copy. Sponsored by PFW’s Women’s Studies program.
March 23: Women’s History Month: Women and Writing
Time: noon–2 p.m.
Location: Walb Union Bookstore Hallway
Description: Learn about strong women authors who refused to be silenced. Grab a cookie and a copy of Stacy Abrams’ Our Time is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America. Open to campus and community at large; attendees must wear face masks; social distancing will be practiced. Sponsored by the Center for Women and Returning Adults.
March 24: What Glass Ceiling? Part I
Time: 5–6:30 p.m.
Event Access: WebEx; meeting number: 120 902 3165; password: CWRA
Speaker: Kristina Creager, vice chancellor for enrollment management and the student experience
Description: Women are continuously pushing to, and gaining, higher and higher employment levels in America today. Creager will share with the audience the amazing story of how she is breaking barriers.
Giveaway: First 20 students will receive $5 food coupons. Sponsored by the Center for Women and Returning Adults.
March 26: Virtual Feminist Trivia
Time: 7 p.m.
Event Access: Click here for registration information and details on how to play.
Description: This event is a fundraiser for Community Friends of Women’s Studies, Inc., which empowers the women’s studies students at Purdue Fort Wayne. Sponsored by PFW’s Women’s Studies program.
March 30: What Glass Ceiling? Part II
Time: 6–8 p.m.
Location: Walb Union, Classic Ballroom
Description: See how Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court, came to be known as “Notorious RGB,” with the screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary film RGB. Sponsored by the Center for Women and Returning Adults.
Food: Popcorn and soft drinks. Attendees must wear face masks; social distancing will be practiced.
March 31: History in the Making: Reflections on 2020
Event Access: Zoom; email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the link to attend this virtual event.
Description: A round-table discussion led by scholars and community activists who will reflect on the impact of 2020 on women’s lives. Sponsored by the PFW Women’s Studies program.
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