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Women’s History Month 2017

Facebook logo Twitter 2017 Women's History Month - Building women's futures: Women and work in the 21st century

2017 events

Keynote event: an Evening with Lindy West

Monday, March 20, 2017 - 7 p.m.
Bixby Lecture Hall, Brouder Science Center

Join us for talk by New York Times best-selling author of Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, Lindy West. Lindy is a columnist at The Guardian, contributor to This American Life, and a freelance writer whose work focuses on feminism, social justice, humor and body image. Following the talk, Lindy will be signing copies of Shrill, which will be available for purchase.

See more details about Lindy West and her work below this list of events.

Additional events celebrating Women's History Month 2017: 

February events:

CC Reads: Two discussions of Lindy West's Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 4 p.m. and
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 4 p.m.
"The Nook", Atkins-Holman Student Commons

Columbia College students, faculty, and staff are all invited to read Shrill during February and join us for discussion. We will discuss Chapters 1-10 on Wednesday, February 8, and Chapters 11-19 on Wednesday, February 22nd. Meet us in "the Nook" on the second floor of the Atkins-Holman Student Center 4pm. Bring friends!

Copies of Shrill are available for purchase in the campus bookstore on the ground floor of the Student Center.

March events:

North Country film screening and discussion

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 6 p.m.
Lee Room, Dulany Hall

The History, Philosophy & Political Science Department hosts a screening of the 2005 film North Country, featuring Charlize Theron. North Country depicts the events leading to the first successful major sexual harassment case in the United States against an employer, Jenson v. Eveleth Mines

Gender, Vocation, and Occupation: a Brown Bag Lunch Discussion

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 11:15 a.m.
Lee Room, Dulany Hall

What makes us suited for some kinds of work rather than others? Which should take priority: our own assessment of vocation ("This suits me best, and I want it most.") or external assessments of our skills and duties ("Of the things we need and value, you do this best--so that is what you should do.") Do differences in our demographic circumstances ever warrant our receiving different opportunities in education, training, occupation and career? Is gender ever a job qualification? Join the Columbia College Philosophy Club for a free Chipotle lunch and discussion of these topics. 

Finale event: Meet Your Future

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 3-5 p.m.
Dorsey Gym, Dorsey Hall

Have you ever met a nuclear engineer? A politician? A police officer? Have you met women who have these jobs? Join the Columbia College campus for a discussion of work and gender stereotypes. There will be a panel featuring women and men who have successfully pursued careers in defiance of the stereotypes of "women's work." There will be food and prizes.

Building Women’s Futures: Women and Work in the 21st Century

It is no secret that gender often plays a detrimental role in women's lives, particularly in their work lives.

For Women's History Month 2017, Columbia College will focus upon our society's recent progress and remaining obstacles regarding work and gender. We will host a month-long conversation about how women choose what they will do for work, what challenges they face in preparing for that work, and the obstacles they face in doing that work. The discussion will address how people form expectations of what women can or should do for work; what resources, educational and otherwise, support women aiming for particular kinds of work; and the challenges of unequal pay, unjust management practices, gendered expectations about work/life balance, hiring, promotion, and firing discrimination, and other workplace quandaries. (And we will keep in mind that men who feel an affinity for doing what is characterized as "a woman's job" likewise face struggles.)

Our goal is not only to illuminate the negative, of which there is certainly plenty. The intention is to foster dialogue among the men and women of our campus community about how to recognize and combat these challenges -- for those who do not directly experience them as well as for those who cope daily with gender-based inequality at work.

Lindy West

photo by Jenny Jimenez

2017 Women's History Month speaker Lindy West

The keynote speaker for Women’s History Month 2017 has a powerful voice, and she's not afraid to use it. Lindy West writes with insight, humor, and poignancy about all manner of experiences: body shaming, rape culture, online bullying, and general misogyny in entertainment, politics, and other forms of public life.

Lindy is an award winning author and blogger. In her 2015 book Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, Lindy unapologetically takes up space to examine the obstacles she has faced in her personal and working life -- obstacles presented both from without and, with our culture's encouragement, from within.

The power of simply being heard is central to the blog I Believe You | It's Not Your Fault, which she established in 2014. There Lindy publishes personal stories of sexual assault submitted by readers, primarily teenagers. She and a panel of over 30 volunteer contributors offer the teens encouragement and occasional advice, reassuring them that someone is listening.

It is an unfortunate reality that too often, those who listen online are of the troll variety. In 2015, Lindy gained nationwide notice with an episode of This American Life in which she describes confronting an online troll impersonating her dead father. Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that when the man relented, apologized, and revealed his identity to Lindy, she decided to call him! The open and candid conversation the two have about what motivates online trolls (included in the radio segment) is at once thought-provoking, infuriating, and humanizing.

These two approaches, heartfelt listening and fearless speaking, are evident throughout Lindy's work as a reviewer of creative non-fiction and literature, an arts and culture critic, a teacher of feminism, a public speaker, and an activist for numerous political issues of importance to women (especially regarding abortion rights, for which she coined the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion last year).

 Her activism online was recognized in 2013 with the Women's Media Center's Social Media Award, presented to Lindy by Jane Fonda. She has contributed to a wide variety of both print and online publications, including Jezebel, Seattle's The StrangerGQCosmopolitanand The Guardian. For an online taste of her writing, visit The Electric Typewriter , which has collected twelve of her best essays.

You can connect with Lindy at her official website, Facebook, and Instagram. But you won't find her on Twitter anymore: as she described January 3rd in The Guardian,  

Twitter abuse was a grand-scale normalisation project, disseminating libel and disinformation, muddying long-held cultural givens such as "racism is bad" and "sexual assault is bad" and "lying is bad" and "authoritarianism is bad..."

Did we mention that she isn't afraid to use her voice?! 

Lindy West will speak on Monday, March 20, 2017 at 7 p.m. in Bixby Lecture Hall on the Columbia College campus.

The History of Women's History Month

First begun as a local celebration of women's history in Santa Rosa, California in 1978, the movement for a national celebration of women's history gained momentum in 1979 at the Women's History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. In February 1980 President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation recognizing the week of March 8, 1980 as National Women's History Week. Carter's proclamation coincided with resolutions in the House of Representatives and the Senate that declared support for National Women's History Week.

The movement continued to grow as individual states expanded these week-long celebrations to month-long recognition, so that by 1987 Congress issued a declaration of March as Women's History Month in perpetuity. The celebration continues to be marked by an annual presidential proclamation. For more on the history of women's history month, visit the National Women's History Project website.

Why March?

March was selected for the first women's history celebration in 1978 because of the celebration of March 8th as International Women's Day, which has been celebrated in various countries around the world since the early 1900s. By 1917 the date became firmly fixed on March 8 in recognition of a strike for "bread and peace" carried out by Russian women in the opening days of the Russian Revolution. For more information on International Women's Day visit

Columbia College and Women's History

Columbia College, founded in 1851 as Christian Female College, has a rich history of providing education for women and of producing women who become forces of change in the world. Christian College's origins lie in the desire on the part of its founders to provide a quality liberal arts education for their daughters, who were denied admission at the University of Missouri where many of the founders were teachers and administrators. The opening of the school in 1851 marked the first institution of higher education for women west of the Mississippi. Christian College continued to provide educational opportunities for young women, and in 1970 extended its mission and opened its doors to men for the first time. Now as Columbia College, the community marks the significance of its own history and the contributions of women around the world to making history happen by hosting a series of events to celebrate Women's History Month.

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