Tyler Smith

February 28, 2022

Special events, guest speakers highlight SIU’s Women’s History Month celebration

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — March marks Women’s History Month and Southern Illinois University Carbondale will be celebrating with a variety of special events, including some activities that include the SIU system.

The theme, ‘Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,’ is a tribute to the work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic,” Bethany Peppers, SIU Carbondale Women’s Resource Center coordinator said.

“It also provides recognition to the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history. Healing occurs in many forms, but before we heal, we must acknowledge the past and its wrongdoings,” she said. “Women often do not receive recognition for their contributions to society so this month especially, we will be highlighting some of the trailblazers society often forgets through a mixture of virtual and in-person events.”

Activities will include guest speakers, workshops, a ball, panel discussions, a health walk, a charity drive and much more.

Kickoff is Tuesday, March 1

Chancellor Austin Lane will offer opening remarks at the kickoff event, set for noon, Tuesday, March 1, in the Old Main Room at the Student Center.

Pamela Smoot, assistant professor in the School of History and Philosophy, will present the keynote address, highlighting the significant impact women have made throughout the course of American history. In recognizing the contributions women have made Smoot will note the problems of the past, but the focus will also be on looking forward, healing and working toward a better future. A free lunch is included. 

Living memorial

Two years after the shooting death of Breonna Taylor by police in Louisville, Kentucky, SIU will host a program, “Two Years Without Justice and Counting: A Black Feminist Reflection of the Post-Breonna Taylor Black Liberation Struggle.” The hybrid event, which will also be available virtually, is from noon to 1:30 p.m. March 13 in the Student Services Building, Room 150.

Tyler Smith, a recent graduate of Illinois State University with a master’s degree in criminal justice, will be the guest speaker. Her research has focused primarily on Black femicide, specifically cases involving police, and subsequent community-involved social justice movements. Organizers say the presentation will serve as a living memorial and an impetus to work toward a criminal justice system that protects Black women and provides justice for all. People can also participate virtually by logging on.

Walk for wellness

The inaugural Women’s Wellness Walk is set for 11 a.m. March 26 at Becker Pavilion. Participants will walk along the trails along Campus Lake, celebrating women and walking toward good health.

Helping others

A women’s hygiene drive will be underway during March with donations going to the Saluki Food Pantry and the Survivor Empowerment Center (formerly the Women’s Center) in Carbondale. People can drop off toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, floss, hair scarves, deodorant and menstrual products in collection boxes at the Student Multicultural Resource Center and other locations around campus.

Many other events during the month

A host of other activities are planned, including roundtable discussions, the “SIU Conference on Women: Allies and Advocates,” a mock quinceañera, an ebony ball, and much more. Most events are free and open to the public.

For details about Women’s History Month 2022, including the complete schedule of events and links for Zoom presentations, visit the Women’s Resource Center website. Call 618-453-3740 or email wrc@siu.edu with questions.

SIU schools join to sponsor events

In conjunction with International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, the SIU System is hosting a series of virtual events to help foster “a world that is diverse, equitable, just and inclusive.”

The weekly events begin with a kickoff at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, featuring Sheila Caldwell, the SIU System’s vice president for antiracism, diversity, equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. She will discuss the importance of equity and inclusion in all facets of the system and breakout sessions will follow. Register online for the Zoom event.

Additional sessions include:

  • “Choosing a Career in Higher Education: A Panel Discussion with STEM Women Faculty,” March 8 from 2 to 3 p.m., with Elza Ibroscheva, associate provost of SIU Edwardsville as moderator. Accomplished women faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics from various institutions of higher learning will reflect on their careers and how to enter these fields during this virtual presentation. Sign up online. The meeting ID is 968 3084 3509 and the password is 04265.
  • “Choosing a Non-Academic Career: A Panel Discussion with STEM Women Professionals,” March 9, 2-3 p.m., and Ibroscheva, will again serve as moderator. A diverse group of panelists from STEM careers outside of academics, including Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the director of the Illinois Department of Public Health and the first Black woman to hold that position, will share their stories during the Zoom presentation. Register online. The meeting ID is 917 7346 3856; the password is 540359.
  • “Negotiation Workshop – Learn to Negotiate for What you Want!,” March 16, 9-11 a.m. Mary Sue Love, associate professor of management at SIUE, will facilitate this interactive workshop and offer techniques and information about negotiating to get what you want in all areas of life. Sign up online.
  • “Interactive Theater: Allies in Action,” March 22 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., facilitated by Kathryn Bentley, SIUE associate professor of theater and dance and the IMPACT Academy Players. This unique virtual event is the result of story circles Bentley and the IMPACT Academy Players conducted with STEM women faculty members as the women shared their experiences of gender bias. Those stories were recreated and the resulting recorded dramatizations are shown and discussed with male leader allies during this session. Register to attend.
  • “Picture a Scientist!” March 30, 5-6 p.m. Join a panel of experienced women scientists from throughout the SIU system in this Zoom presentation as they discuss the challenges and opportunities that students, scientists and professional women face within academia. They will also note the resources available to help address gender inequities in the presentation organized by Liliana Lefticariu, an associate professor in geology at SIU Carbondale. Registration is online. Participants are asked to view the documentary “Picture a Scientist” prior to the panel discussion. Access is available here.