February 25, 2009

SIUC to observe Women’s History Month in March

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- “Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet” is the theme of Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s observance in March of Women’s History Month.

“Women’s History Month is an exceptional opportunity to learn more about the constructs and intersections of gender, power, privilege and identity and to grow as a student, a citizen and an informed human being,” said Carl Ervin, coordinator of Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services.

“It is an opportunity to gain perspective of what life is for women and the current and past obstacles they face and strive to overcome,” said Ben Scherr, a higher education graduate student from Buffalo Grove.

The Women’s History Month calendar is full of opportunities to learn, to be entertained, to recognize achievement and to discuss the issues women face.

“It’s important to attend Women’s History Month events because we need to know that there are still issues women deal with every day and we need to see there are strong, intellectual women making this world better,” said Robin Komie, a junior from Chicago majoring in sociology.

The observance kicks off on Sunday, March 1, with a presentation of the award-winning “Vagina Monologues” during the V-Day Festival and silent auction. There are thought-provoking films, panel discussions, workshops and much more throughout the month. Activities take a hiatus for the spring break March 7-15.

“Women’s History Month is important to me because it gives people of all genders and backgrounds a chance to learn about an entire half of a population that has been excluded in the past. The events on- and off-campus help with making connections, finding similar interests and learning new things about yourself and other people,” said Kate Gramlich, a senior sociology/women’s studies major from Morton.

All Women’s History Month events, unless otherwise specified, are free and open to the public. The schedule includes:

• Sunday, March 1, 1:30 p.m.: V-Day Festival and Silent Auction, featuring presentation of the acclaimed play “Vagina Monologues” in McLeod Theater at the Communications Building. Tickets at the door are $7 or $5 with valid student identification. Proceeds go to The Women’s Center and the V-Day Spotlight -- Women of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

• Monday, March 2, 7-9 p.m.: Women’s Business Day. This workshop, in the Illinois Room of the Student Center, helps women select a career that works for them, develop good resumes and dress for success. There also will be dissemination of information about being a woman in a male-dominated workforce. A U-Card event.

• Tuesday, March 3, 8-9:30 p.m.: Film, “What I Want My Words to Do to You,” Student Health Center Auditorium. The SIUC V-Day Task Force and the Wellness Center are sponsors for this Eve Ensler documentary, which focuses on the playwright/activist’s group at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Donations collected benefit The Women’s Center.

• Wednesday, March 4, 4 p.m.: “Women in Leadership Positions at SIUC,” in the Kaskaskia Room of the Student Center. This presentation and discussion highlights the issues surrounding the lack of women in high-level positions at the University, and solutions.

• Thursday, March 5, 7-9 p.m.: Film, “Texas Gold,” Kaskaskia Room at the Student Center. This is a profile of Diane Wilson, who staged numerous hunger strikes, chained herself to a Dow Chemical tower and began a business bottling toxic water. Janet Donoghue will lead a discussion too. A U-Card event.

• Tuesday, March 17, 5:30-7 p.m.: “Wielding the Mighty Pen: Women and War in 16th Century Italy,” in Lawson Hall Room 101. This research presentation highlights women writing about war.

• Wednesday, March 18

• 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. -- “Celebrating Scholarship By and About Women 2009,” luncheon fundraiser for American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Women’s Studies scholarships, Student Center Ballroom B.

• 1-3 p.m. -- Presentations from 2008 research, scholarly and creative activity grant recipients in Ballroom A of Student Center.

• 1-5 p.m. -- University Women’s Professional Advancement poster session in Corker Lounge at Student Center.

• 3-5 p.m. -- Award ceremony for the recipients of scholarships sponsored by the AAUW and Women’s Studies, Ballroom A of the Student Center, followed by reception in Corker Lounge.

• 3-5:30 p.m. -- Film, “Iron Jawed Angels,” Faner Hall Room 3075. Join the political science department for this Hilary Swank film about women who stood up for women’s rights. A discussion of voting rights and women’s suffrage will follow, with Laura Hatcher as facilitator.

• Thursday, March 19, 6:15-8:15 p.m.: Film, “The Big Doll House,” Faner Hall Room 1326. This stereotypical look at women in prison is racially and sexually exploitative; a discussion of the film genre will follow.

• Saturday, March 21, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.: “What I Want You to Know-Leadership Symposium on Diversity,” Student Center River Rooms. Students will present this program with the intention of encouraging conversation and meaningful dialogue between students from a variety of traditionally underrepresented groups and 60 SIUC student leaders. A U-Card event.

• Monday, March 23, 11 a.m.-noon: “In the Hot Box: Shifting Constructions of Lesbianism in the Women in Prison Genre,” Faner Hall room 3410. Through multimedia, including scenes of graphic nudity and sexual violence, this feminist, interdisciplinary presentation examines the “women in prison” film genre.

• Tuesday, March 24, 7-9 p.m.: “I Am Not My Hair -- Civic Engagement Dialogue Series,” Ballroom A on the second floor of the Student Center. This is an exploration of pride, beauty and self-hate, illustrated by the “natural versus relaxed” ongoing hair debate in the black community. A panel of six African American women will participate. A U-Card event.

• Wednesday, March 25, 7 p.m.: “The Mirror Test,” Engineering Building Room 131A. Explore image, how women view themselves and how various influences affect self-image.

• Thursday, March 26

• Noon-1 p.m.: Gender and Disruptive Behavior in Fourth and Fifth Grade Classrooms, Student Center Missouri Room. A research presentation and discussion about gender and behavior among young children at school.

4 p.m.: Roxana Rivera Memorial Poetry Contest ceremony, Student Center second floor auditorium. Competition judge, poet Stacey Lynn Brown, and winners of the Roxana Rivera Memorial Poetry Contest will read selections from their poetry. A reception and book signing with Brown will follow in the Old Main Lounge.

7 p.m.: Nudity and Censorship on Campus, Hiram H. Lesar Law Building, room 108. Panelists include Peter Chametzky, Sue Liemer, Paul McGreal and Tracey Weiersmueller for this discussion of art and censorship at SIUC, featuring Weiersmueller’s work.

7 p.m.: Men Who Live Off Women, Student Health Center Auditorium. Bryant Payne will be discussion facilitator as Progressive Masculinities Mentors host a special talk about men who live by financially or sexually exploiting women.

• Friday, March 27, 4 p.m.: Women’s Words, Mississippi Room on second floor of Student Center. Female writers from the University’s Master of Fine Arts Program will read from their works and those of other women writers. A reception in Old Main Lounge follows.

• Saturday, March 28, noon-2 p.m.: Public service project -- flowerpot decorating. Students can stop by the Student Center Craft Shop to paint and decorate flowerpots for donation to The Women’s Center to brighten things up this spring. They’ll provide materials but you need to register at the Student Development Office in the Student Center for this AmeriCorps VISTA program and Saluki Volunteer Corps event. It’s also a U-Card event.

• Monday, March 30, 7-9 p.m.: Sisterhood Without the Letters Sorority Panel, Illinois Room, second floor of Student Center. It’s a look at how women throughout the campus can come together as sisters outside of the sorority sisterhood. A U-Card event.

• Tuesday, March 31

• 5-7:30 p.m. -- Dialoguing Dissertations and Dinner: An Event for Female Scholars, Old Main Room at Student Center. Talk with and learn from a female multidisciplinary faculty panel. Enjoy discussion, networking, sharing resources and a meal. You must RSVP by calling 618/453-5714 no later than March 24 to claim a spot. Leave a message with your name, area of study and if you’ll need a vegetarian dinner. A U-Card event.

7 p.m. -- We Still Love Her: What We Love and Loathe About Hip-Hop, Grinnell Hall’s lower level. The Progressive Masculinities Mentors and Black Togetherness Organization team up to discuss “love” in hip-hop as fashioned by music artists.

“Women’s History Month is important because people tend to take past struggles for granted,” said Jennifer Cannon, a senior psychology major from Chicago. “Having WHM helps us remember those who fought for women’s rights by showing us how far we have come in ending patriarchy and how far we still have to go along this journey. WHM helps people from all walks of life understand a little more about who they are and how they have been shaped in our society that takes women and basic needs for granted. Remembering and celebrating WHM helps to revitalize the push forward and educate others on ways to get involved so we are not repeating our history in the future but re-writing a better one for all people, no matter their gender, race, or class.”

Sponsors for SIUC Women’s History Month 2009 include: American Civil Liberties Union, Black Togetherness Organization, Black Women’s Task Force, Carbondale Branch of American Association of University Women, Humanities Forum, Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council, provost and vice chancellor office, Panhellenic Association, Progressive Masculinities Mentors, Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services, Student Health Center-Wellness Center, University Women’s Professional Advancement, V-Day Task Force, Women’s Law Forum, Women’s Studies and the SIUC departments of English, history, political science and sociology, along with the Creative Writing Program.

“We have so many prominent women who have made great contributions to the world and our society,” said Chiquita Watts, a senior business/marketing major from Chicago. “Women’s History Month is an opportunity to celebrate and recognize the contributions women have made in our society and bring awareness to the contributions being made to our society every day.”

For more information about Women’s History Month and its activities, contact Women’s Studies at 618/453-5141 or Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services on the third floor of the SIUC Student Center at 618/453-5714. More information also is available online at www.stddev.siu.edu.