Wide variety of events planned for Women’s History Month

| Erica Jones

March is Women’s History Month, and the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center has put plans in place to recognize and celebrate women through a series of unique events.

Each week focuses on a different program or center on campus including the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Services for Students with Disabilities, and the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program.

Ashlea Orth, a student intern for the GSRC, and Kelsey Avey, a graduate assistant for the Center for International Education, have helped organize the events, which kicked off March 1 with food, a performance by the all-female campus a cappella group, Audacious, and the debut of a video showcasing women at UW-Eau Claire.

A Gender Pay Gap Salary Negotiation Workshop led by Michelle Shrader and Alyssa Slaby from Career Services was held on March 5, and the documentary film “PROFILED” was shown in Woodland Theater as part of the Night OUT Film Series on March 6. The documentary focused on stories of racial profiling and police brutality, told by mothers of victims of this violence.

Orth and Avey were charged with planning a “robust” Women’s History Month, and they tried to put together a diverse group of events to appeal to a wide audience. The events include a variety of content such as guest speakers, panel discussions, films and other activities. Orth said being a part of the planning committee was a part of her practicum in the GSRC.

For example, an hourlong workshop focusing on body positivity and women’s health was held at The Cabin on March 7.

On Thursday, March 8, the Women’s Resource Center will host an open house, which coincides with International Day of Women. At the center’s opening in Hibbard (Room 311C), visitors will be invited to write notes to female faculty or staff members at the university to express their appreciation. This event runs from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., but the center will be open all day.

“I wanted there to be an engaging interactive piece to this, too, to this Women’s History Month, more so than just passively listening to a speaker or going to an event,” Avey said of the note project. “So, one of the things I really wanted to do was work in a way to celebrate the women here on campus.”

Orth said this event will allow for anyone who participates to “send a little love.”

Sonia Ruef, who is the assistant athletic trainer with the Pittsburgh Steelers, will visit campus on Friday, March 9, to discuss her experience as a woman working for the NFL. She will also tell how the gender barrier affects the world of professional sports. Ruef’s presentation will begin at 4 p.m. in Centennial Hall (Room 1614).

Students Hannah Peterson, Lindsey Sherman and Caroline Walz will share experiences of their time abroad in Nicaragua at 3:30 p.m. Monday, March 12, in Centennial Hall (Room 1920). The study abroad program they will talk about is titled “Women’s Lives and Experiences in Nicaragua.” This program immerses students in the lives and struggles of Central American women as they work toward equal rights.

On Tuesday, March 13, at 5 p.m., a panel comprising UW-Eau Claire’s own professors Sandibel Borges and Kong Pha, along with Karen Hanna, a Santa Barbara graduate student, will meet in Centennial Hall (Room 1804) to discuss and challenge the ways in which colonization has sought to destroy indigenous knowledge and values.

A College Feminist-hosted event will bring female voices to The Cabin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 14. Women will take the spotlight and recite spoken-word pieces­ highlighting their experiences.

On Thursday, March 15, faculty will present their research at an event called “Engaging in Interdisciplinary Scholarship” in the form of a panel discussion. Here, professors Gerardo Licon, Sandibel Borges, Heather Ann Moody and Kong Pha will zero in on the value of an interdisciplinary focus when conducting research. The event takes place in Centennial Hall (Room 1804).

After spring break, members of the campus community can ease back into the month’s events by viewing a display in The Bridge (Davies Center 229) of influential women throughout history. The display will be open to the public starting at 11 a.m. Monday, March 26.

Two different events will take place on Tuesday, March 27. The first will be an informational session held at noon in the Council Oak Room (Davies Center); the topic will be “Wisconsin Women in Higher Education Leadership.” Later that night beginning at 7 p.m. “Scarlet Road” will shown in Woodland Theater. This documentary explores the life of an Australian prostitute who fights for the sexual rights of people with disabilities.

On the behalf of Voces de la Frontera, the organization’s executive director, Christine Neumann-Ortiz, will come to campus on Wednesday, March 28. At 5 p.m. in Centennial Hall (Room 1415), she will discuss the role women play in the modern-day battle for immigrant reform.

On Thursday, March 29, speaker and alumna Angela Hazen, who identifies as a veteran, mother, business owner and breast cancer survivor, will tell her personal story of how she overcame adversity. She will speak at noon in the Council Oak Room of Davies Center.

To wrap up Women’s History Month, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies awards will be handed out at a banquet at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, in the Ojibwe Ballroom of Davies Center. These scholarships will recognize academic achievement within the WGSS department.

Orth said each of these programs is meant to educate people on the struggles women have experienced and highlight their accomplishments.

“At times throughout history, women’s experiences have been shadowed by men. Women’s History Month gives us the chance and the space to acknowledge and celebrate these women.”

Avey said she hopes the month empowers people, gives them a chance to connect with others and discover ways to take action and heal.