Marshall to host Women’s History Month events

To celebrate Women’s History Month, Marshall University is hosting virtual events and one in-person activity to educate students on women’s historical achievements and involve students in social activism. 

Laura Diener, history professor and director of MU’s women and gender studies program, said that while the pandemic has prevented many events from being in-person, the switch to virtual events is very beneficial to students.   

“Most of our events are virtual, which is different,” Diener said. “Most of the events will be recorded, so people can watch them if their schedule didn’t allow them to go. They’re also a way for students who can’t access campus or live away to still be involved.” 

MU celebrated International Women’s Day Monday, Mar. 8, with the month’s only in-person event at the Memorial Student Center. Diener said there were giveaways and opportunities for social media engagement and activism. 

Snyder said this year’s theme for International Women’s Day was “Choose to Challenge.” Students were invited to think about how to challenge gender inequity and gender stereotypes by engaging in the social media movement. Student volunteers and staff at the Women’s and Gender Center coordinated the event’s activities.    

Diener said she is particularly excited for the Mar. 15 event “This Side of Paradise: Clothing of the Jazz Age and Beyond,” which will showcase women’s clothing from the Jazz Age and discuss their historical value. Diener said students from her fashion history class spent time researching them as part of a project last semester.

Lori Thompson from MU’s Special Collections, Olivia Trees from the theater department and students working on the project will discuss the online showcase.   

Claire Snyder, coordinator of the Women’s and Gender Center at MU, said she is excited about this event because it showcases students’ work and research. Snyder also said she is looking forward to the diverse collection of events at Marshall.   

Snyder and Diener said they are excited about The Women in Digital Humanities event on Mar. 30. Jessica Vodden, an MU graduate and former Yaeger scholar, will discuss her journey establishing her path to establishing and owning an all-women market firm, Vodden Labs and Studio. 

Snyder said this event is important because much of celebrating women’s historical achievements is focusing on current efforts to promote gender equity.   

“Celebrating Women’s History is not just about the past; it’s about the future,” Snyder said. “It’s about the incredible work that women are doing right now to create a better world.” 

Snyder said that though coordinating events to fit the COVID-19 guidelines is challenging. She is mostly concerned with keeping students engaged. She said she is proud of the work she and other MU staff have done to make this year’s events interesting to students.   

“Students can feel stressed and overwhelmed with schoolwork, so they are not necessarily looking for online lectures to watch,” Snyder said. “We worked really hard to find a variety of different topics and different types of presentations so that they can appeal to anyone.” 

Diener said she appreciates MU’s efforts to celebrate women’s history despite the challenges of the pandemic.   

“I’m excited that even though so many of us aren’t on campus and things are so different, we are still taking the time to recognize Women’s History Month,” Diener said. “I think it’s really important that that’s one of the things we don’t let go of during the pandemic.”

  Madison Perdue can be contacted at [email protected]