Over the last month, I’ve learned a lot. For starters, the month of March is Women’s History Month. Why was I unaware of this before? Throughout my years of public school, I am surprised that Women’s History Month was never mentioned. There were no special projects, movies or presentations in March about historical women leaders, those who fought for equality or led the way in discovery. Yet, I remember learning about the Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, and the Boston Tea Party: all important events in history yet no inclusion of the female gender.
This year, Nichols College celebrated Women’s History Month with two major events: March Forward and the Empowering Women in Business Conference. March Forward took place on March 1st and was a celebration of our female alumni and what they have accomplished while on campus as students and in the professional world. The day began with a continental breakfast and networking, followed by a catered lunch and an alumnae panel.
The Empowering Women in Business Conference was phenomenal, with over 200 people in attendance. The conference began with a vendor exhibition and included a number of female business owners, both alumni and otherwise. The event attracted great interest, especially since the keynote speaker was television personality Amy Roloff. Amy’s family is the center of the television show, “Little People, Big World,” which has been airing on TLC since 2006. She spoke about her entrepreneurial efforts, including creating her own Mango-Pumpkin Salsa and buying a family farm. Her best advice to young female professionals is to “be the entrepreneur of you, take ownership of you.” Amy’s speech was followed by a series of workshops, including Starting Your Own Business and Planning Your Financial Future. A light dinner was served, and vendor stations were revisited as the evening wound down. Some vendors included: Ellie & Me, Express Yourself Gifts, Arbonne, It Works! Body Wraps, and Wear Lex. The Institute for Women’s Leadership did a fantastic job coordinating these events that celebrated women’s history for both the campus and local community.
Women’s History Week began in March of 1981 and expanded into Women’s History Month officially by 1995. The push to create it was enormous, with backing from former President Jimmy Carter, the National Women’s History Project, and hundreds of thousands of individual supporters.
Each year, a new theme is chosen to represent that month’s efforts. This past month’s theme was “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.” This theme presents the opportunity to integrate women’s stories- individually and collectively- into the essential fabric of our nation’s history.
In a way, this is also the approach that the Institute for Women’s Leadership took. By inviting alumnae and asking them to speak of their experiences, wins and losses, and gained knowledge, they imparted their valuable stories and information for all to hear and learn from. One thing is for sure: as a woman, I will face different challenges in the workplace. I may face discrimination based on my gender, but I will not let that stop me. To succeed, I must be the entrepreneur of myself and face adversity head on.
In the future, I hope that we will educate young girls about Women’s History Month. It is sad that women’s history is only remembered and celebrated one month a year. The strides that women have accomplished date back thousands of years and the stories are few and far between. It is an important topic in history, and its importance needs to be shared more with young girls and boys to teach them that women have made strides toward making the world a better place just as men have.
Visit https://www.nwhp.org for more information about Women’s History Month.