Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month
Visionary Women:  Agents of Change and Justice
March 2019

Malala Yousafzai, author and activist, said, “I raise up my voice-not so I can shout but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.”  This March, we recognize the impact of women who have shaped our history and our future; using their voices to be agents of change and justice in women’s history.  Join the Women’s History Month Planning Committee and the James Farmer Multicultural Center as we celebrate these visionary women throughout history who have created a better future for women everywhere.

Great Lives Lecture:  Lucille Ball by Kathleen Brady
Tuesday, March 12 |  7:30 pm  |  Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

When on a September evening in 1951 Lucille Ball stepped before an audience to film the first episode of her new television program, no one who was present – including the actress herself – suspected that history was about to be made. But on that September night, the star she was destined to be was finally born. For millions of television viewers, and for years to come, Lucille would in effect become her greatest creation, Lucy Ricardo. While that role revealed her true gifts, it changed her life immeasurably, and the remarkable individual who was Lucille Ball slowly began to be obscured in the shadows of Lucy.

Kathleen Brady looked beyond the all-too-familiar image of the star who dominated television for two decades to reveal the woman behind the icon. From her childhood, when her virtual abandonment instilled in her a relentless drive for love and attention, through her struggling early years in vaudeville and Hollywood, through her troubled relationship with Desi Arnaz, which became the basis for one of television’s most famous marriages, Lucille vividly recounts the story of this passionate, vulnerable, and often fiercely demanding woman.

Undergraduate Research Forum on Women’s Studies
Wednesday, March 13 | 4 – 6 p.m. | Lee Hall, room 411

Join UMW students as they showcase their undergraduate research in women’s studies. Cash prizes will be awarded. Contact Professor Kate Haffey at khaffey@umw.edu for more information regarding submission of entries.

Open Class Lecture:  German American Women
Wednesday, March 13  |  12:00 – 12:50 p.m.  |  Combs Hall 236

This open class lecture is dedicated to the role of German-American women in the immigrant community of the 19th century.  The class is part of a course on Germans in the diaspora.  Students will present on their research on German-American women who immigrated from Germany as a result of the failed 1848 revolution.  Bringing their ideals of democracy and justice to the U.S., they became agents of change not only in their communities, but for other ethnicities in their areas.

Great Lives Lecture:  Radium Girls by Kate Moore
Thursday, March 14  |  7:30 pm  |  Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

The element of radium, newly discovered by the Curies, made gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shone bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.

Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toiled amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covered their bodies from head to toe, lighting up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” seemed the luckiest alive – until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.

But the factories that once offered golden opportunities ignored all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium took hold, the brave shining girls found themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that would echo for centuries to come.

The lecture will illuminate the inspiring young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances – women whose courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

A Wrinkle in Time

Friday, March 15 | 7 p.m. | Monroe Hall, Room 116

Sponsored by Campus Programming Board  |  Cost:  $1

He Named Me Malala 

Friday, March 15 | 10 p.m. | Monroe Hall, Room 116

Sponsored by Campus Programming Board  |  Cost:  $1

He Named Me Malala

Saturday, March 16 | 7 p.m. | Monroe Hall, Room 116

Sponsored by Campus Programming Board |  Cost:  $1

A Wrinkle in Time

Saturday, March 16 | 10 p.m. | Monroe Hall, Room 116

Sponsored by Campus Programming Board  |  Cost:  $1

Women’s Empowerment Through the Arts
Friday, March 15  |  7 pm  |  Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall
Sponsored by Women of Color

Dance, spoken word, song, and other artistic ventures are all ways in which women throughout history have expressed their voices and advocated for social change.  Join Women of Color, student performing groups and artists as we explore empowerment through art.


Woman smiling with an American flag behind her

Women’s History Month Keynote Speaker: Major Kimberly Morris
Monday, March 18 | 7 p.m. | Digital Auditorium, Hurley Convergence Center

Major Kimberly Morris is a retired 20-year Marine veteran and an active member in her local transgender community. She enlisted out of college in 1994 in the Marine Corps Reserve and received her commission in 1995 through the officer candidate course. Trained as a communications officer, she has served in all components of the Marine Corps and has successfully completed tours in recruiting, inspector-instructor, and acquisitions. She led a communication company in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. Her awards include three Meritorious Service Medals, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Great Lives Lecture:  Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt
Tuesday, March 19  |  7:30 pm  |  Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

During World War II, when the newly created Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate jet velocities and plot missile trajectories, they recruited an elite group of young women – known as human computers – who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design and helped bring about America’s first ballistic missiles.

But they were never interested in developing weapons – their hearts lay in the dream of space exploration. So when JPL became part of a new agency called NASA, the computers worked on the first probes to the moon, Venus, Mars, and beyond. Later, as digital computers largely replaced human ones, JPL was unique in training and retaining its brilliant pool of women. They became the first computer programmers and engineers, and through their efforts, we launched the ships that showed us the contours of our solar system.

Nathalia Holt will tell the stories of these women who charted a course not only for the future of space exploration but also for the prospects of female scientists.

Open Lecture – ENGL 356:   American Realism
March 20, 22, 25, 27 |  10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.  | Combs, room 111

Kate Chopin was one of the foremost U.S. women writers of the late nineteenth century whose fiction consistently imagined how women negotiated issues of gender, sex, sexuality, and race.  The course will be doing a unit on the short stories of Kate (O’Flaherty) Chopin:  “Beyond the Bayou,”  “Old Aunt Peggy,” “La Belle Zoraïde,” “At the ‘Cadian Ball,” “The Storm,” Athenaïse,” “A Matter of Prejudice,” and “Nég Créol.”

CODE:  Debugging the Gender Gap
Wednesday, March 20  |  6pm  |  Lee Hall, Room 412

Tech jobs are growing three times faster than our colleges are producing computer science graduates. By 2020, there will be one million unfilled software engineering jobs in the USA. Through compelling interviews, artistic animation and clever flashpoints in popular culture, CODE documentary examines the reasons why more girls and people of color are not seeking opportunities in computer science and explores how cultural mindsets, stereotypes, educational hurdles and sexism all play roles in this national crisis. Expert voices from the worlds of tech, psychology, science, and education are intercut with inspiring stories of women who are engaged in the fight to challenge complacency in the tech industry and have their voices heard. CODE aims to inspire change in mindsets, in the educational system, in startup culture and in the way women see themselves in the field of coding.

Deconstructing Gender

Monday, March 25 | 5:00 p.m.  |  TBD

Join PRISM and the James Farmer Multicultural Center for an interactive discussion on the social construction of gender.

Great Lives Lecture:  Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
Tuesday, March 26  |  7:30 pm  |  Dodd Auditorium, George Washington Hall

Over the past few decades, Laura Ingalls Wilder has become one of our most recognizable frontier figures, beloved for her autobiographical children’s novels and known worldwide thanks to the long-running and immensely popular television show based on Little House on the Prairie, still in syndication. Perhaps more than any other single figure, Wilder now embodies our fondest—and perhaps least examined—fantasies about the history of the American West, white settlement, and the homesteading movement.

In this lecture, Fraser takes a closer look at Wilder’s life and work, revealing the ways in which she wove a powerful mythology around her childhood. Her determination to celebrate self-reliance—among her parents’ most prized values—reflects attitudes forged during the scourge of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, as she labored to complete her series under the secret editorial supervision of her daughter, the writer Rose Wilder Lane, now recognized as one of the “mothers” of the Libertarian movement. As Wilder’s reputation continues to evolve, her life offers astonishing insights into our yearning to see a complex past in a positive light.

RBG:  Documentary & Discussion
Wednesday, March 27 |  7pm  |  Monroe Hall Room 116

Ruth Bader Ginsburg took the oath of office as the second female Supreme Court Justice of the United States on August 10, 1993.  Since that time, she has made waves in both the political and pop culture scene with her fiery wit, tenacity, and her penchant for a dissenting opinion.  Learn more about her life and career through the CNN documentary “RBG,” and engage in fun activities sponsored by the Office of Title IX.

All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For more information, please contact the James Farmer Multicultural Center at 540/654-1044 or visit www.students.umw.edu/multicultural.