Story by Lindsay Hillstrom, News Editor
Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress.
In the 1980s, President Jimmy Carter dedicated a week in March to acknowledge women’s contributions to American history. What started as National Women’s History Week has since evolved into Women’s History Month, a time to recognize the millions of brave, talented, and dedicated women who have shaped our nation and the world we live in today. Here at Aquinas College, the Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (CDI&E) has planned many events to celebrate women on campus, as well as in the wider community.
On March 3, CDI&E will host its first event for Women’s History Month at the Moose Cafe. Jenny Kinne, the owner of local independent bookstore Books and Mortar, will visit campus as a guest speaker. The event is a continuation of CDI&E’s “HerStory” series, where on the first Thursday of each month, female business owners, administrators, and activists share their stories with Aquinas students.
“HerStory invites AQ community members to hear the personal stories of women in leadership positions on campus–how they got to where they are, who or what motivated them, and how they overcame obstacles,” said Mallory Miller, director of CDI&E. “In sharing HerStory, we hope to dispel myths about women’s leadership and give insights about the unique paths women journey, in an accessible form for a diverse campus audience.”
CDI&E will also host Feminist Fridays throughout the month of March in partnership with the Jane Hibbard Idema Women’s Studies Center. Held in the Moose Cafe, these events foster communication and engagement surrounding feminist issues.
“Our goal is to build a community of open and vulnerable discussions,” Miller said.
Miller acknowledges the presence of many strong women in her life. She cites the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, political activist Angela Davis, and her “uniquely feminist mother” as figures that inspire her, as well as her friend and colleague Alicia Lloyd, who currently serves as Aquinas’s Dean of Students and is the first African American woman to hold the position.
Miller encourages Aquinas students to reflect on the influential female figures, both past and present, who have impacted their own lives. Other personal observance activities might include patronizing a woman-owned business, listening to a podcast about powerful women, or writing to a legislator regarding women’s rights.
“Observing Women’s History Month is important to learn new lessons about the contributions of women in our American history,” Miller said. “It is also important to raise awareness to areas and systems that are still inequitable in the struggle for gender equity. If we possess greater knowledge, we are more able to dismantle systems of inequity and build a more just society.”