"Women inspiring innovation through imagination" is the national theme of Women’s History Month, which emphasizes celebrating women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The MU Women’s Center and the campus-wide Women’s History Month Committee have planned a record 26 different events.
Women’s History Month at MU kicked off Feb. 23 with the seventh annual Women’s and Gender Studies Graduate Student Conference and will end March 21 with a Spa Night from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center. The recently-launched whm.missouri.edu is a live site that will post events and facts and highlight campus women year-round.
“The intention of this focus is to shed light on gaps in our history where women were systematically excluded, as well as provide an outlet to celebrate women’s current achievements and further development,” Women’s Center Coordinator Suzy Day said. “We hope that, here at Mizzou, we will remember the spirit of March all year.”
Events like the 17th Annual Women’s Poetry Night on March 12 and the screening of the movie "Miss Representation" on March 11 are tailored toward students interested in celebrating the notable achievements of women in the community as well as challenging the media’s portrayal of women, according to the calendar of events.
Kaitlyn Ingersoll, a Women and Gender Studies major and a member of the Feminist Student Union, said she enjoys that what she does gets to be in the spotlight.
“Everyone’s history is your own history,” Ingersoll said. “To better understand yourself, you have to understand others. You don’t have any idea how women have contributed to the world until you’ve learned about it.”
Presentations such as "InsideOut: Queer Women in History" on March 20 and "Fatty Over Here: Being a Big, Beautiful Queer" on March 6 will focus on women throughout history who have worked on behalf of the LGBTQ community, as well as unlearning body shame and reclaiming bodily independence.
The big-ticket event of the month is the Women’s Leadership Conference on March 9. The workshop celebrates women’s accomplishments and provides leadership and networking skills.
Co-sponsored by the MU Women’s Center and Stephens College, this event is held to coincide with Women's History Month, MU graduate adviser Erlisha Tamplin said.
“We hope that the Women's Leadership Conference serves to celebrate the accomplishments of women,” Tamplin said. “With our theme 'Finding Power in Your Passion,' we want this conference to inspire and motivate Columbia-area women to develop, articulate and support their dreams by learning how to develop their leadership skills through various presentations and by connecting them with several networking opportunities at this exciting and educational event.”
Speakers include speaker Jasmin James, filmmaker Byron Hurt, speaker Dr. Treva Lindsey, Triangle Coalition president Taylor Dukes, UMKC professor Dr. Jennifer Phegley, former CEO of Heifer International Jo Luck and Kathleen Hanna, symbol of the riot grrrl movement.
Sponsors include the Women’s Center, the WHM Committee, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, MU LGBTQ Resource Center, Triangle Coalition, MU Love Your Body Committee, MSA/GPC Craft Studio, KCOU, Stephens College, the Center for Leadership Development and Community Involvement, Black Women Rock! Committee, Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center and the Queer People of Color Committee.