You are here

Women's History Month & International Women's Day

Women’s History Month 2017

At the University of Illinois, the Women’s Resources Center has often spearheaded efforts to recognize and celebrate local women and girls who have strengthened our own campus and community. Our International Women’s Day Banquet is a celebratory event that honors individual movers and shakers in Champaign-Urbana and showcases the work of women and girls in the campus-community who have worked to make it a better place.

Calendar of Events

Food for Thought “Empowering Asian American Women Through Sisterhood”

Tuesday, February 28, 12– 1:00 pm
Asian American Cultural Center | 1210 W. Nevada St., Urbana
Sponsored by the Asian American Cultural Center

Food for Thought, part of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relation’s Lunch on Us series, is a weekly noontime discussion focused on topics relevant to the Asian American community. Past discussions include topics such as nutrition, mental health, sexual health, and issues of queer Asian Americans.

REEL Feminism: “Wonder Women! The Untold Story” Film Screening

Tuesday, February 28th, 5–6:30 pm
Women’s Resources Center | 703 S. Wright Street, 2nd Floor
Sponsored by the Woman’s Resources Center

REEL FEMINISM is a documentary series sponsored by the Women’s Resources Center at the University of Illinois consisting of four films screened in honor of Women’s History Month. The selected films represent a cross-section of films exploring the history of feminist organizing through activism, media, and art. An interactive discussion will follow each screening. Refreshments will be provided. All films will be closed-captioned.

WONDER WOMEN! THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SUPERHEROINES traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. From the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, WONDER WOMEN! looks at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation.

WONDER WOMEN! goes behind the scenes with Lynda Carter, Lindsay Wagner, comic writers and artists, and real-life superheroines such as Gloria Steinem, Kathleen Hanna and others, who offer an enlightening and entertaining counterpoint to the male-dominated superhero genre.

2017 Women’s and Gender History Symposium

Friday, March 3, All Day
Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) | 919 West Illinois Street, Urbana

Now in its 17th year, the graduate Women’s and Gender History Symposium at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign showcases graduate research that foregrounds histories of women, gender, and sexuality. This year’s symposium theme is: Migration and Movement in Women’s and Gender History. 

Associate Professor Karen Flynn will deliver a keynote presentation based upon her current research. Professor Flynn is a historian of the Black Atlantic world, with primary research and teaching interests in gender, migration, race, and sexuality. Her first book, Moving Beyond Borders: Black Canadian and Caribbean Women in the African Canadian Diaspora, uses post-colonial feminist theory in combination with diasporic black studies to look at migrant black women who were nurses in Canada immediately following World War II. Her current research examines the role of black TEFL teachers in South Asia.

Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon

Saturday, March 4, 1–5 pm
Ricker Library of Architecture and Art | 608 Lorado Taft Dr. #208, Champaign

Join us for a communal afternoon of updating Wikipedia entries on subjects related to art/design/architecture/landscape architecture and feminism. We will provide tutorials for first-time editors, reference materials, and snacks. Stop by for a little bit or stay for the whole afternoon. Bring your laptop, power cord, and ideas for entries that need updating or creation. No Wikipedia editing experience necessary! 

“How To Do A Facial Fitness Exercise” Film Screening + Discussion

Monday, March 6, 5–6 pm
YWCA Conference Room | 1001 S. Wright St., Champaign
Sponsored by the YWCA of the University of Illinois

Beyond Binaries: A Workshop with Robyn Ochs part of “The Space Between” series

Monday, March 6, 7 pm
SDRP Multipurpose Room C | 301 E Gregory Dr, Champaign
Sponsored by OIIR, University Housing, School of Social Work, SJLE, University YMCA

Robyn Ochs is an educator, speaker, award-winning activist, and editor of the Bi Women Quarterly, the 42-country anthology, Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World and the new anthology RECOGNIZE: The Voices of Bisexual Men. An advocate for the rights of people of all orientations and genders to live safely, openly and with full access and opportunity, Robyn’s work focuses on increasing awareness and understanding of complex identities, and mobilizing people to be powerful allies to one another within and across identities and social movements.

REEL Feminism: “Reflections Unheard” Film Screening

Tuesday, March 7, 5–6:30 pm
Women’s Resources Center | 703 S. Wright Street, 2nd Floor, Champaign
Sponsored by the Woman’s Resources Center

Through the personal stories of several former black female Civil Rights activists, Reflections Unheard: Black Women in Civil Rights unearths the lesser-known story of black women’s political marginalization between the male-dominated Black Power movement, and the predominantly white and middle class Feminist movement during the 1960s and 70s, as well as the resulting mobilization of black and other women of color into a united Feminist movement.

Reflections Unheard is a feature length documentary, and the first of its kind to focus exclusively on black women’s contributions and experiences during the Civil Rights era.

Gendered Landscapes: A Panel Discussion

Wednesday, March 8, 3–4 pm
Women’s Resources Center | 703 S. Wright St. 2nd Fl. Champaign
Sponsored by the Women’s Resources Center and the Peace Corps Campus Recruiting Office

In honor of International Women’s Day, join us for a panel discussion with Peace Corps women who will reflect upon their own experiences working in gender-based issues and navigating gender in their own lives. Sponsored by the Women’s Resources Center and the Peace Corps Campus Recruiting Office. Free and open to the public.

Women’s History Month Kick Off Event

Wednesday, March 8, 5–7 pm
ISchool Room 126 and Lobby | 501 E Daniel St, Champaign
Sponsored by The Mortenson Center, Women’s Resource Center, Center for Digital Inclusion

Come gather to celebrate women and International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange. The Love Handles will play feminist-powered songs and an open mic afterward. We’ll have tabling by local groups – list to be announced soon!

Manifesto: “A Performance of Intersectional Feminist Voices of Inspiration and Intervention”

Presented by Inner Voices Social Issues Theater

A performance of intersectional feminist voices of inspiration and intervention in honor of Women’s History Month. All performances are free and open to the public. A discussion follows each performance.

Location: Armory Free Theatre (Room 160 Armory)
Wednesday, March 8th @ 7:00 PM
Thursday, March 9th @ 7:00 PM
Friday, March 10th @ 5:00 PM
Friday, March 10th @ 7:00 PM

Location: Channing Murray Foundation (1209 W Oregon, Urbana)
Thursday, March 16th @ 7:00 PM

Sponsored by INNER VOICES Social Issues Theatre, the Counseling Center, the Department of Theatre at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the Women’s Resources Center, and the Channing Murray Foundation.

Dish It Up 7th Annual Campus EcoFeminism Summit Lecture

Monday, March 13, 12–1 pm
Women’s Resources Center | 703 S. Wright Street, 2nd Fl. Champaign
Sponsored by the Woman’s Resources Center

Hot Topics — Climate Change and Feminism: An Ecofeminist Discussion

Monday, March 13, 7–9:00 pm
Women’s Resources Center | 703 S. Wright Street, 2nd Fl. Champaign, IL
Sponsored by the Woman’s Resources Center

Day 50 Report Back on the 10 Actions / 100 Days Women’s March Initiative

Tuesday, March 14, 1212:50 pm
iSchool Room 126 and online

Join the iSchool in Color Initiative to discuss activities relating to: Co-sponsored by the UCIMC Zine Library
FB event:

La Donna Brave Bull Allard | 7th Annual Campus Ecofeminism Summit Keynote Lecture

Tuesday, March 14, 7 to 8 pm
Unit One/Allen Hall (1005 W Gregory Dr, Urbana)

In honor of the 7th Annual Campus Ecofeminism Summit, join the Women's Resources Center, together with cosponsoring units, for a keynote lecture from LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Lakota historian, activist, and Director of the Sacred Stone Camp at Standing Rock.

The lecture will be followed by a Q & A. Local campus and community organizations will be offering resources and information. Meet n' Greet: 2 to 4 pm | Native American House (1206 W. Nevada St., Urbana)

Cosponsored by: Unit One Allen Hall, Native American House, Native American and Indigenous Student Organization (NAISO), and YWCA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

REEL Feminism: “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” Film Screening

Tuesday, March 14, 56:30 pm
Women’s Resources Center | 703 S. Wright Street, 2nd Fl., Champaign
Sponsored by the Woman’s Resources Center

SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971. SHE’S BEAUTIFUL takes us from the founding of NOW, with ladies in hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!). Artfully combining dramatizations, performance and archival imagery, the film recounts the stories of women who fought for their own equality, and in the process created a world-wide revolution. 

SHE’S BEAUTIFUL does not try to romanticize the early movement, but dramatizes it in its exhilarating, quarrelsome, sometimes heart-wrenching glory. The film does not shy away from the controversies over race, sexual preference and leadership that arose in the women’s movement. SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY captures the spirit of the time — thrilling, scandalous, and often hilarious.

That story still resonates today for women who are facing new challenges around reproductive rights and sexual violence, as the film shows present-day activists creating their generation’s own version of feminism. SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY is a film about activists, made to inspire people of all genders to work for feminism and human rights.

AsiaLENS – “Playing with Fire: Women Actors of Afghanistan” Film Screening

Tuesday, March 14, 7 pm
Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum | 600 S. Gregory, Urbana
Sponsored by Asian Educational Media Service (AEMS)/Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies; Spurlock Museum

Banned under Taliban rule (1994–2001), Afghan theater is experiencing a comeback with many women at the forefront. Filmmaker Anneta Papathanassiou exposes pervasive erosions of Afghan women’s rights. Her timely, eye-opening documentary perfectly captures art’s transformative power and the dangers these courageous women face to do the work they love.

Pandora’s Rag Layout Party

Tuesday, March 14, 89:30 pm
Women’s Resources Center | 703 S. Wright St., 2nd Fl, Champaign
Sponsored by Pandora’s Rag is a feminist zine on campus born in the late 90s and revived in 2015!

Join Pandora’s Rag editorial team for a “Layout Party!” to put together their spring issue! Pandora’s Rag is made possible with support from the YWCA at the University of Illinois, Gender and Women’s Studies, and Women’s Resources Center

Chat ’n Chew: “From the Womb to the River: Centering Women in the ‘Water Protectors’ Movement”

Friday, March 17, 12–1 pm
Native American House | 1206 W. Nevada St., Urbana
Sponsored by Native American House

Spring Break Reading Group

March 18th–26th (Reading Group) and Wednesday, March 22nd (Live Discussion on Twitter) 11am–12pm CST
Sponsored by the School of Information Sciences

Over spring break, join the iSchool in Color Initiative and read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie transcripted from her TEDx Talk. Follow along with the conversation on Twitter!

Hot Topics — Herstories and the Futures of Arab Feminisms

Monday, March 27, 7–9 pm
Women’s Resources Center | 703 S. Wright Street, 2nd Fl. Champaign
Sponsored by the Woman’s Resources Center

Femme-inist futures: a “T” time talk

Wednesday, March 29, 3 pm
LGBT Resource Center | Room 323 Illini Union
LGBT Resource Center & Women’s Resources Center

Join a conversation hosted by the LGBT Resource Center and Women’s Resources Center about the future of feminism while taking a look at trans women who are blazing trails in the wake of their truths. “T” time talk will begin at 3pm. Warning, this “T” may be HOT!

“Upholding Gender Peace in a Time of War” with Evelyne Accad, Professor Emerita

Friday, March 31, 12 pm
101 International Studies Building | 910 S. Fifth St., Champaign
Sponsored by WGGP, Center for South Asia and Middle Eastern Studies,  Department of French and Italian, School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics

Lunch will be provided with registration by March 27th at

Throughout March

Art Exhibit: “Start Spangled” by Preetika Rajgariah

Women’s Resources Center | 703 S. Wright S., 2nd Fl., Champaign

(Artist Statement) My ongoing practice explores themes of cultural identity, perceptions of exoticism, and gendered materiality while specifically referencing my upbringing as an Indian born American. I seek to understand the increasingly globalized world and the multifaceted experience of populations. Through the work, I ask questions of the complicated and tangled relationship of nationalism, identity, and the intersections of cultures. Combining tactile elements such as Indian textiles, glitter, and embroidery thread, creates a bodily representation to further the discourse over the portrayal of cultures, both individually, as well as within the complex context of a globalized society.


History of National Women's History Month

(By Molly Murphy MacGregor, Executive Director and Cofounder, National Women's History Project)

As recently as the 1970s, women's history was virtually an unknown topic in the K-12 curriculum or in general public consciousness. To address this situation, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women initiated a "Women's History Week" celebration for 1978.

The week March 8th, International Women's Day, was chosen as the focal point of the observance. The local Women's History Week activities met with enthusiastic response, and dozens of schools planned special programs for Women's History Week. Over one-hundred community women participated by doing special presentations in classrooms throughout the country and an annual "Real Woman" Essay Contest drew hundreds of entries. The finale for the week was a celebratory parade and program held in the center of downtown Santa Rosa, California.

In 1979, Molly Murphy MacGregor, a member of National Women’s History Project, was invited to participate in The Women's History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, which was chaired by noted historian, Gerda Lerner and attended by the national leaders of organizations for women and girls. When the participants learned about the success of the Sonoma County's Women's History Week celebration, they decided to initiate similar celebrations within their own organizations, communities, and school districts. They also agreed to support an effort to secure a "National Women's History Week."

The first steps toward success in gaining congressional support came in February 1980 when President Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8, 1980 as National Women's History Week. In the same year, then Representative Barbara Mikulski, House of Representatives, and Senator Orrin Hatch co-sponsored a Congressional Resolution for National Women's History Week 1981. This co-sponsorship demonstrated the wide-ranging political support for recognizing, honoring, and celebrating the achievements of American women.

State departments of education across the nation encouraged celebrations of National Women's History Week as an effective means to achieving equity goals within classrooms. Many states developed and distributed curriculum materials for all of their public schools. Organizations sponsored essay contests and other special programs in their local areas. Within a few years, thousands of schools and communities were celebrating National Women's History Week, supported and encouraged by resolutions from governors, city councils, school boards, and the U.S. Congress.

Each year, the dates of National Women's History Week, (the week of March 8th) changed and every year a new lobbying effort was needed. Yearly, a national effort that included thousands of individuals and hundreds of educational and women’s organizations was spearheaded by the National Women's History Project.

However, by 1986, 14 states had already declared March as Women's History Month. This momentum and state-by-state action was used as the rational to lobby Congress to declare the entire month of March 1987 as National Women's History Month. In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women's History Month in perpetuity. A special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women. (From the National Women’s History Project:

Local & Campus Efforts

Locally, the women’s center and several campus and community units/organizations have worked to create a celebration of women at the University of Illinois and as leaders within the community during March to honor Women’s History Month.

Goals of local efforts include:

  • recognize the contributions women have made to the history of America, Illinois, University of Illinois and Champaign-Urbana
  • promote equality of women and girls
  • celebrate women as leaders
  • create awareness of women’s place in history and contemporary society