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Women’s History Month at Marquette

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Women’s History Month at Marquette

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

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March is Women’s History Month, and Marquette University, the Women’s Innovation Network, and the Center for Intercultural Engagement is sponsoring various events to celebrate women on campus. 

“Women’s History Month means highlighting the achievements and contributions of women throughout history to all aspects of society, and continuing to encourage women today and inspiring them to empower others,” Nikki Deep, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

“Women’s History Month is really important to me because it helps to unify women, which is really important because there have been so many things against women in the past,” Gina Marchetti, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, said. “It’s also important to recognize the things that women have overcome and the things that still need to be overcome.”

On March 8, or International Women’s Day, the Women’s Innovation Network had a display in the Alumni Memorial Union showcasing the opportunities students will have throughout the month. 

The display not only had a flyers for future events, but it also ran a slideshow about important women in Marquette’s history. and in women’s history. This is something WIN coordinator Sasha Parsons said she developed with the Office of Marketing and Communications. Some of these women included the first black female Marquette law student, some athletes and even some figures like Dorothy Day and Mother Theresa.  

Marquette was the first Catholic university to admit women as students. Parsons said alumna Claire Rolfs, whose entire family attended Notre Dame University, could not attend Notre Dame at the time as they did not admit women. She became the first in her family to attend Marquette.

“When the university started this new focus on innovation and entrepreneurship with the building of the 707 Hub and developing different innovation spaces on campus, she said ‘well how are we going to make sure women are participating in all these new initiatives?’” Parsons said.

Parsons said that with that, she got her family, the Thomas J. Rolfs Foundation to donate a large sum of money to university, which was one thing that helped start the Women’s Innovation Network.

The Women’s Innovation Network was created in 2017 to engage women in a culture of innovation in all aspects of the university community.

“It’s basically to address the disparities when it comes to women in leadership positions and entrepreneurship,” Parsons said. “It’s not just for women, it’s also for people of color, first generation college students, the LGBTQ community and other marginalized groups.”

On March 19, the Women’s Innovation Network will host Lunafest in Todd Wehr Chemistry, a film festival showcasing 8 short films by, for and about women. The event is free for students, and all additional funds raised will benefit the Soroptimist International of Milwaukee “Dream Programs,” a career support program for girls.

On March 20, Women’s History Month will be the focus of Campus Ministry’s Soup with Substance.

On March 25, there will be a Women’s Health Panel in the Alumni Memorial Union.

On March 29, the Women’s Innovation Network and Late Night Marquette will host a screening of “On the Basis of Sex” at Varsity Theatre, a film about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fighting for equal rights for women. Parsons also said the law school will facilitate a discussion after the movie

“I feel profiling amazing women who have done amazing things is very motivational,” Parsons said. “She did a lot for not just gender rights, but civil rights and rights for the gay community.”

“I think the screening of ‘On the Basis of Sex’ is very exciting and I’m definitely going to try to go see it,” Marchetti said. “It’s important to recognize the things that women have worked hard to achieve in the past for themselves and for different communities.”

The Women’s Innovation Network also has an ongoing series about professional development. They have previously hosted discussions about networking strategies, and will host discussions about LinkedIn profiles, salary negotiation, and fashion throughout the rest of the semester. Parsons said past sessions have been recorded and can be found on the WIN website soon.

“There’s a gender pay gap when it comes to salaries, and one of the reasons why is because women simply don’t ask for more money,” Parsons said. “Studies show that men tend to be more aggressive when it comes to salary negotiation so this will cover salary negotiation strategies which is good for everyone but it’s especially important for women.”

“It seems that the workshops will be helpful in creating women who are more confident in themselves,” Marchetti said. “(They will) help them better understand who they are as people and as leaders.”

“I think these events are some different ways to raise awareness of women’s history month,” Deep said. “I also think it would be super helpful if there were some discussion boards after these events to get some ideas generated about how each of those events impacted students and how to improve our celebration of Women’s History Month.”

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