The History of Women's History Month in
Northern Illinois University's Women's Studies Program

Women's History Week Theme:
In response to Marilyn Skinner's request letter dated January 15, 1985, Greg Sparrow, Mayor of DeKalb, proclaimed March 3 - 9, 1985 as Women's History Week in DeKalb.
1985 "1975-85: The U.N. Decade for Women: Where Do We Go From Here?"

Women's History Month Themes:

1986 Women in the Arts
1987 Women and Work (U.S. Congress designated March as Women's History Month in 1987)
1988 Women in the Sciences
1989 The Lives of Rural Women
1990 Women, the Law, and Public Policy
1991 Women as Innovators, Educators, and Inventors
1992 Her Stories: Public Images; Private Realities
1993 Women and Spirituality
1994 Creating Women: Art, Action, and Social Commentary
1995 Women Among Us: Celebrating Our Past, Shaping Our Future
1996 Women's Work is Never Done
1997 Body and Soul
1998 Women at Play
1999 Generations: Not Just Girls Anymore
2000 Women's Acts: Acting Up, Acting Out, Activism
2001 NIU Women's Studies Program: Twenty Years of Warming the Climate for Women
2002 Women Around the World
2003 Women and Volunteerism: Every Woman Can Do Something for the Cause
2004 Women's Movements
2005 Body Waves
2006 25 Years of Women's Studies at NIU: Re-Imagining Sisterhood
2007 Re-Defining Motherhood
2008 Enterprising Women 
2009 Women, the Environment, and Sustainability
2010 Women's Voices/Women's Visions
2011 Women's Migration & Immigration
2012 Women, Wealth, and Economic Justice
2013 Looking Back on the Feminine Mystique

Major Women's History Month Events:
-  Jane Byrne, former Mayor of Chicago, Keynote Speaker

-  Kate Clinton, Feminist Comedian
-  Doris Karpiel, Illinois State Senator (1976 NIU Graduate)

-  Joan Ferrante, Columbia University, "Educated Women in the Middle Ages"
-  Marcia Gillespie, Essence Magazine
-  Jane Curry, "Just Say Know," Humorist on Women in Higher Education

-  Jacqueline Wade, Ohio State University, "Feminism and Black Liberation"
-  Caroline Hertzenberg, Argonne National Laboratories, "Women's Contributions to the Manhatten Project"
-  First Annual Quilting Bee

-  M. Annette Jaimes, "Native American Concepts of Women's Spirituality"

-  Linda Kerber, University of Iowa, "Women, Citizenship, and the Military"
-  Elena Featherstone, film maker, "Alice Walker: Visions of the Spirit"
-  "The Trojan Women" by Euripides, Players Theatre

-  Cheryl Johnson, great-granddaughter of Bertha Glidden, "The Glidden Women"
-  "Perspectives from the Pulpit," Local Women Clergy
-  "Boundary Breakers: Women in Athletics" NIU Women's Basketball v. UIC, half-time (Ceremony to recognize gender equity in Athletics)
-  "Inspiring Women Display," tribute to local women

-  Gloria Steinem, author, "An evening with Gloria Steinem"
-  Ana Castillo, author, "Poetics of Conscientizacion: Chicano Liberation in the Changing Literature Canon"
-  Los Madres de la Plaza de Mayo: The Mothers of Argentina's "Disappeared"
-  Charlotte Rollman, School of Art, "Reliving Beijing: Fourth World Conference on Women," participant
-  Donna Ferrato, photojournalist, "Living with the Enemy," domestic violence
-  Judy Nosigian, author, "Our Bodies, Ourselves: Women's Health Issues in the 90s"
-  Joy Harjo, poet, "The Process Called Living"

-  Sydney Jacobs, environmental educator, "Musings on Adventure: Women on Wheels"
-  Julia Wood, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "Gender and Communications"
-  Lucy Greeley, author, "Autobiography of a Face"

-  "An Evening with Comedian Paula Poundstone"
-  Emily Toth, author and professor, Louisiana State University, "Ms. Mentor's Impeccable Advice for Women in Academia"

-  Susan Lorraine Kennedy, registered nurse and attorney, "Legal Aspects of Advanced Practice Nursing"
-  Michelle Citron, independent film maker, "Home Movies, Autobiography, and Other Necessary Fictions"
-  Jane Tompkins, U.I.C., "Autobiography in the Classroom"

-  Margorie Garber, Harvard University, "Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life"
-  Rusty Barcelo, University of Minnesota, "Diversity in the University, Heightening Awareness of the Role and Contributions of Latinas in Higher Education"

-  Caryn McTighe Musil, Association of American Colleges and Universities, "Unfinished Business? Gender Equity in Higher Education and Beyond"

-  Dorothy McBride Stetson, Florida State University, "Women's Movements: Have They Made a Difference?"
-  Carole Lacampagne, Director, Mathematical Sciences Education Board at the National Academy of Science, "Non-Traditional Paths to Non-Traditional Careers in Mathematics: The Plight and the Glory of Women in Mathematics"
-  Kathleen Kiernan, Deputy Assistant Director, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, "Women in Law Enforcement: A Traditional Occupation from a Non-Traditional Perspective"

-  Floris Barnett Cash, Associate Professor of Africana Studies, State University of New York, Stony Brook, “African-American Women and Volunteerism: A Historical Perspective of Women in Chicago” and “Ida B. Wells Barnett, A Feminist Race Woman.”
-  Jewell Parker Rhodes, Professor of Creative Writing, Arizona State University,“Douglass’ Women: An Exploration and Celebration of the Two Women in the Life of Abolitionist Frederick Douglass: His Wife and His Mistress."
-  Josephine Mendez-Negrete, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Texas, San Antonio, "The Gender Pipeline: Culture, Education, and Opportunities" and guest speaker at The International Women's Day Luncheon.

-  Karen Eliot, Associate Professor of Dance at the Ohio State University, “Lives and Livelihoods: Six Women Dancers from the 18th Century to the Present” and "Careers in Dance and English."
-  Nancy Naples, Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, "The Politics of Location: Women's Activism and Globalization" and "Feminist Activism in the Classroom."
-  Beth Finke, author of Long Time, No See, “Imagine: A Blind Writer’s World View” at the International Women’s Day Luncheon.
-  Pink Bloque of Chicago, "Dancing in Dissent: A Workshop on Dancing as a Form of Street Protest."
-  First "This is What a Feminist Looks Like!" Sticker Day.

-  Sherrie Inness, Professor of Composition and Rhetoric and American Literature at Miami University of Ohio, “Beyond Charlie's Angels: The New World of the Action Heroine” and “The Enchantment of Mixing-Spoons: Cookbooks for Girls and Boys."
-  Natalie Guice Adams, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at the University of Alabama, “Cheerleaders, Tomboys, and Girlie Girls: Athleticism and Girlhood in the 21st Century” and “Cheerleaders, Tomboys, and Girlie Girls: Athleticism and Girlhood in the 21st Century.”
-  Gulsat Aygen, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, NIU, “Here to Tell a Story: Surviving as a Woman,” at the International Women’s Day Luncheon.
-  Barbara Cole Peters, private collector of women’s twentieth-century fashions, “100 Years of Evening Dresses: A 20th-Century Journey of Body Adornment and Body Display.”
-  “The Good Body,” An informal reading of Eve Ensler’s new play followed by a discussion with Dr. Alexandra Bennett, NIU Assistant Professor of English.

-  Valentine Moghadam, Chief of Gender Equality and Development, Social & Human Sciences Sector, UNESCO, "Middle Eastern Feminism: The Challenges of Islamism, Imperialism, and Authoritarian States" and "Sisterhood and Strange Bedfellows: Feminisms in an Age of Empire." Dr. Moghadam also presented "Feminism, Legal Reform and Women's Empowerment in the Middle East" at the International Women's Day Luncheon.
-  Kelli Lyon Johnson, Assistant Professor of English, Miami University-Hamilton, "Mapping Collective Memory in Chicana Literature: The Politics of Belonging" and "Finding the Way Home: The Map in Native American Women's Writing."
-  Barbara Cole Peters, private collector of women's twentieth century fashions, "Lady in Red & Black: Ode to Northern Illinois University."
-  "Triple Goddess," a staged reading of Sara Keely McGuire's play followed by a discussion led by the playwright.

-  Susan J. Douglas, Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor & Chair of Communication Studies, University of Michigan, "Researching Women in the Media" (seminar), and "The Mommy Myth-The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women" (lecture).
-  Elizabeth (Betsy) Beaulieu, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, Appalachian State University, "Food, Family, and Marijuana? Weeds Re-Invents the Suburban Mother" (seminar), "Opaque with confusion and shame: Maternal Ambivalence in Rita Dove's Poetry" (lecture).
-  Toril Moi, James B. Duke Professor of Literature & Romance Studies, Duke University, keynote presentation at the 15th Annual Midwestern Conference on Literature, Language and Media.
-  Barbara Cole Peters, private collector of 20th c. fashions, "The Little Black Dress," at the Nehring Gallery.
-  "Eleemosynary," a staged reading of Lee Blessing's story. 

-  Benita Roth, Associate Professor of Sociology & Women's Studies at Binghampton University, "Racial/Ethnic Feminisms" (seminar), and "Necessary Feminists: The Feminist Presence in American Politics" (lecture).
-  Barbara Cole Peters, "Northern Illinois Women (1900-1949): Untold Stories."
-  Byron Hurt, filmmaker,"From Hits and Beats to the Streets: Taking on Masculinity and Hip Hop."
-  Margaret Asalele Mbilizi, Assistant Professor of Counseling, Adult & Higher Education and Co-Director of the Office of International Initiatives at Northern Illinois University, "Micro Finance in Developing Countries: Creating Pathways for Enterprising Women."

-  Tiffany Holmes, Associate Professor and Chair of Art & Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, "DIY Eco-Tech: Solar Panel Sculptures" (seminar), and "Greenmedia Futures: Art & Technology to Promote Sustainability" (lecture).
-  Janet Smith, Associate Professor of Urban Planning & Policy and Co-Director of the Nathalie Voorhees Center for Neighborhood & Community Improvement at the University of Illinois-Chicago, "Trading Off or Trading Up for Housing" (seminar), and "A Woman's Place is in a Green Kitchen" (lecture). 
-  Inaugural Chicago Alumnae Networking Event with key note address by NIU alumna Jolene Skinner.
-  Kimberly Lombardozzi, Sustainability Manager for The Mohawk Group, and Mari Anne Wohlfeil, Commercial Sales Manager with Dal-Tile Corporation, "Green Job Challenges."

-  Frances Aparicio, Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois-Chicago, "The Latina Body as Spectacle" (seminar), and "The Cultural Politics of Salsa Dancing in Chicago: A Gender Perspective" (lecture).
-  Channy Lyons, founder and director of the Illinois Women Artists Project, "Finding Women's Histories" (seminar), and "'You Paint Like a Man,' Telling Women's Stories: The Illinois Women Artists Project." (lecture). 
-  "Women's Voices/Women's Visions: Women's Studies Beyond the University," inaugural Women's Studies alumnae panel discussion with Stephanie Blanton, staff member with House Rules Committee in the House of Representatives; Brooke Radford, Program Specialist with the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois; and Monica Avina, who works for an immigration law firm.
-  Julia Serano, author of Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity (Seal Press, 2007), and Researcher in Evolutionary and Devlopmental Biology at the University of California-Berkley, "Rethinking Sexualization" (lecture).

-  Katharine M. Donato, Professor and Chair of Sociology at Vanderbilt University, "Researching Women's Immigration Patterns" (seminar), and "How Many Women? How Many Men? Gender in International Migration" (lecture).
-  Tournees Film Festival, Women Directors.  Sponsored by a grant from the French American Cultural Exchange the Tournees Festival features contemporary European films selected by the NIU Film Society and introduced by faculty specialists from NIU. 
-  Women in Black lecture and vigil, organized and presented by the Current Debates Seminar: Women and Gender: Global Activism class (WOMS 436).
-  Rosa Gumataotao Rios, Treasurer of the United States, speaks at NIU (Organized by the Latino Resource Center and sponsored by the Department of Political Science).
- "Aftershocks: Responding to the Human Tragedy in Japan: Challenges and Complexities," teach-in on responding to the tragedy in Japan, led by Judith Hermanson (NGOLD), Takako Day (Human Resource Services), Laurence Lurio (Physics), Paul Stoddard (Geology), and Amy Levin (Women's Studies).

- Laura Carpenter, Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University, "If I knew then what I know now: The do's and don'ts in qualitative sexuality research" (seminar), "Sex for Life: Taking a Life Course Approach to Gendered Sexuality" (lecture).
- Susie Porter, Associate Professor of History and Director of Gender Studies at the University of Utah, "Of workers, senoritas, and secretaries: Women, office work, and class identity in Mexico City, 1890-1920" (seminar), "Of Suffragists & Secretaries: Commercial education, women's networks, and female empowerment in Mexico City" (lecture).
- "Occupy This: A Teach-In," teach-in on the Occupy Wallstreet movement.

- Stephanie Coontz, author of A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s, "How to Talk to the Media About Your Scholarship (and get them to listen)" (seminar), "50 Years After the Feminine Mystique: How Far Have We Come?" (lecture-postponed due to weather closure).
- "Past, Present, and Future of Women's Studies @ NIU," brief presentation by Amy Levin on the origins of the program, then open discussion about the future of Women's Studies at NIU.
-"Women of NIU Making an Impact," visual display organized by the Women's Resource Center recognizing the women of NIU and the contributions they have made locally, statewide, and nationally.
-"Women Educators in Science, Technology and Leadership," panel discussion by College of Education alumnae who hold significant leadership positions.

*The image at the top of this page was designed by Kim Strom for the 2008 Women's History Month poster, and may not be used without permission.
(Contact the Women's Studies Program at for permission to use this image)