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A century ago this year, Montana women achieved the right to vote. Two years later, in 1916, Montana Republican Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to Congress where she successfully sponsored legislation requiring equal pay for equal work in federal civil service jobs.
In recognition of Women’s History Month, Montana State University Billings Library will host a series of panel presentations and discussions highlighting notable women in history, like Rankin, as well as looking at the present focus among today’s female leaders and historians.
“Making Herstory: Honoring Global Achievements of Women Past and Present & Inspiring Change” is free and open to the public. The series will be held on March 11, 18 and 25 in the Liberal Arts Building, room 205.
The panel discussions will feature Dr. Jennifer Lynn; Dr. Ana Diaz; Joseph Bryan; Dr. Nisha Bellinger; Dr. Xia Chao; Dr. Reno Charette; Dr. Elena Petroska; Dr. Jennifer Scroggins; Dr. Lisa Kemmerer; Dr. Joy Honea and Krista Montague.
Started in 1910, International Women’s History Month celebrates the social, political and economic achievements while challenging the status quo for women’s equality and vigilance in inspiring positive change.
It all began when female activists in Europe and the United States demanded that women—as workers, mothers and citizens—have the right to work, the right to vote and to hold public office. Under the leadership of the German socialist-feminist Clara Zetkin, International Women’s Day was officially established and to be recognized on March 8.
While International Women’s Day was celebrated throughout the twentieth century, activists in the United States during the late 1970s began creating programs which honored women in history. During the 1980s, “Women’s History Week” was expanded to “Women’s History Month” in the United States in order to promote gender equality and recognize the importance of female contributions to all areas of society. This recognition was made possible by scholars who made visible the actions and voices of women in history.
“It is important to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women in politics, culture and society on a local, national and global scale,” Dr. Jennifer Lynn, MSUB assistant professor of history, said. “This program provides a forum to discuss current challenges that women face and demonstrates that we all have the possibility of inspiring change for the advancement of women and gender equality.”