The Missouri State University Gender Studies Committee has released an exciting and informative slate of events to celebrate Women’s History Month in March. You can watch films, attend panels, and listen to the keynote speaker, New York Times best-selling author Heidi Durrow, who wrote The Girl Who Fell From the Sky. Durrow’s novel follows young Rachel Morse, the daughter of a Danish woman and an African-American G.I., who struggles to fit in living with her paternal grandmother after a family tragedy. Durrow will speak and sign copies of the book, which won Barbara Kingsolver’s 2008 Bellwether Prize for Fiction and made the 2010 Top Ten novel lists of the Washington Post, The Oregonian, and the Boston Herald. The University will also award the annual “Women of Distinction” awards to showcase female students who have positively impacted the lives of others. All events are free and open to the public.
Women’s History Month has its roots in Sonoma County, California. In 1978 the Sonoma County Education Task Force commissioned a Women’s History Week. The success of the idea spread rapidly, and in 1980 President Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8th 1980 National Women’s History Week. It wasn’t until 1987 that congress officially made March National Women’s History Month.
This year Women’s History Month honors women’s empowerment through equal opportunity education. Passed in 1972, Title IX of the education codes in the Higher Education Act prohibited gender discrimination in federally funded institutions. This year’s Women’s History Month theme, Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment, focuses on the importance of education in preserving democracy and equality.
As one of eighty-one schools honored by the Princeton Review for outstanding community involvement, Missouri State University strives to plan events that encourage ethical leadership, cultural competence, and community engagement. Each event is free and the community is encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Dr. Stephanie Norander, assistant professor of communication, at StephanieNorander@missouristate.edu or (417) 836-4106.