IV celebrates Women’s History Month


March is Women’s History Month and Illinois Valley Community College is hosting five events and one contest to celebrate. The events will address a wide range of topics, including feminism, female leadership roles and women in media. The official agenda can be found here

Professor Kim Radek-Hall has coordinated and will facilitate many of the events throughout the month. To her, Women’s History Month is a time of celebration and reflection.

“Celebrating women’s history is important, in general, because women have been exploited and oppressed throughout history–and often put into positions where they did not have any real power–even over themselves or their bodies,” Radek-Hall said.

Radek feels that celebrating Women’s History Month is especially important this year due to the recent presidential election.

“Personally, to me, it is an even more sacred duty to celebrate all of our female ancestors this year, as we now have a president who does not respect women as equals. We know that we will be facing difficult times, between globalization, climate change, issues of access to healthcare, and the increasing gap between the wealthy and the other classes. Women will be needed to help solve these problems alongside men,” Radek-Hall said.

In addition to celebrating Women’s History Month in general, the celebration is appointed a theme every year. The 2017 theme of Women’s History Month is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.”

“This year’s theme is important because women are still under-represented at the highest levels in business,” Radek-Hall said. “The few women who have made it into the ranks of CEO/CFO are ones who have started their own companies or who have been in families that have.”

Radek-Hall plans to publicize the events and boost participation by word-of-mouth, daily faculty emails, and advertising on the message boards in the morning. There are also fliers distributed throughout campus and copies can be picked up in Jacobs Library or the bookstore.

Radek-Hall is especially excited about speaking at the event “The Three F-Words: Feminism, Fake News, and Why You Should Care about Them.” She will be offering extra credit to her students should they choose to attend any of the programs, and many other teachers plan to, as well.

Amanda Cook-Fesperman, professor of Political Science, will also be offering extra credit to her students and speaking for Women’s History Month.

“I’m excited about all of the programs we have this year and the chance to bring women’s history and issues to center stage,” Cook-Fesperman said. “One of the reasons we have months like Women’s History Month is because women’s issues are still left out of mainstream classes and textbooks and it is important that we understand the contributions of women in history, where we’ve been and what we still need to think about moving forward.”

Cook-Fesperman encourages students to attend these free events.

“Colleges and universities are breeding grounds for diverse thoughts. One of the things I loved most about being a student was the incredible opportunities I had to hear people speak about issues that I hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about. These opportunities won’t be around for you the rest of your lives, so it is important that you take advantage of them now,” Cook-Fesperman said.

The various events are sponsored by the Diversity Team, SAGE, the College Democrats, the Black Student Association, Sigma Kappa Delta, River Currents, and the Student Government Association. In addition to the events, Sigma Kappa Delta and River Currents are sponsoring a poetry contest. Entries are due Tuesday, Mar. 21 to either Radek-Hall or Professor Delores Robinson. Poems must address any aspect of women’s history or address the theme of persistence. Winners will be announced in April.