March is Women's History Month, and we like to celebrate this event all month! Through a variety of programs with guest speakers, films, displays, and articles, we highlight notable women in history and look at the latest focus among today's gender historians.

Public Law 101-6 designates March as Women's History month observed through related programs, ceremonies, and activities. The law was passed in 1989 in order to recognize women's contributions, including:

"Whereas American women have played and continue to play a critical economic, cultural, and social role in every sphere of the life of the Nation by constituting a significant portion of the labor force working inside and outside of the home;

Whereas American women of every race, class, and ethnic background served as leaders in the forefront of every major progressive social change movement;

Whereas American women have been leaders, not only in securing their own rights of suffrage and equal opportunity, but also in the abolitionist movement, the emancipation movement, the industrial movement, the civil rights movement, and other movements, especially the peace movement, which create a more fair and just society for all; and

Whereas despite these contributions, the role of American women in history has been consistently overlooked and undervalued, in the literature, teaching and study of American history."

"To the boy we say, 'Do'; to the girl, 'Don't.'" -Charlotte Perkins Gilman

March, 2017

March 1: 

Turf Wars and Professionalism: The Battle for Expertise and Legitimacy in the Academy of Nutrition and Dieteticsby Kristin K. Smith, PhD Candidate, MSU Earth Sciences

Sack Lunch Seminar, March 1, Noon- 1 p.m., SUB 168, MSU Campus

Who is a professional? Which occupations are able to provide “expertise?” These questions contain terms that are contested and rooted in shifting historical, cultural, and gendered discourses. Professions dominated by women frequently struggle with issues of professional recognition and legitimacy due to their designation as “women’s work.” Join PhD student, Kristin Smith, as she explores how the field of dietetics has been enabled and constrained by its gendered history. Kristin will also discuss the strategic rhetorical devices that today’s RDs – of whom 96% identify as women – employ in their struggle to claim legitimacy, professionalism, and expertise. 

March 1:

Lost Human: Slavery in Our Own Backyard

Wednesday, March 1st, 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30), SUB Ballroom A, MSU Campus

Contact: Michael Hollinger,

This panel discussion about human trafficking in Montana and beyond will feature FBI Special Agent, Brandon Walter; FBI Detective, Guy Baker ; Dr. Lilia Tyrrell, an attorney who worked within the Cambodian War Tribunals; MSU International Relations Professor,  Dr. Franke Wilmer; and two survivors of trafficking.

Join the Humble Efforts Actualizing Real Transformation (HEART) Initiative, an MSU student organization dedicated to combatting human trafficking, for this educational and informative program.  This event is also co-sponsored by the MSU Leadership Institute, the MSU VOICE Center and the MSU Women’s Center. This event is free and open to the public.

March 8th:

Women in the Spanish Civil War—by MSU Professor John Patrick Thompson

Sack Lunch Seminar, March 8, Noon- 1 p.m., SUB 168, MSU Campus

The most radical feminist revolution in the history of human kind occurred in Spain in 1936. When the fascists rose up against the Spanish Second Republic in 1936, an anarchist revolution broke loose in Catalonia and Aragon. Women demanded to be a part of the revolution in order to have equal rights after the revolution. But fascism won the war and murdered hundreds of thousands, still disappeared. The Franco dictatorship was supported by the U.S. and lasted until 1977. The Amnesty Law, passed the same year, held no one accountable for political crimes, thus fascists continued to form part of the system. This is the reason why today there is no far right wing party in Spain; fascist ideology is ensconced in the supposedly center right Partido Popular (PP). After explaining women’s revolutionary role in the Second Republic and Civil War, MSU professor John Thompson will discuss the annihilation of women’s rights during the dictatorship; and point out the profoundly misogynistic elements of the PP, which is the current governing party.

March 22:

Hip Hop Sovereign Nations: Including Women in the Hip Hop Remix Pedagogy for American Indian Reservation Students –by Richard White, Director of MSU’s Office of American Indian/Alaska Native Student Success

Women’s History Month Event, Wednesday, March 22, 4:00-5:30 p.m., Procrastinator Theater, MSU

The Hip Hop cultural elements of deejaying, break dancing, graffiti art, and emceeing, etc., have foundational parallel elements found in many Indigenous cultures that are centered around themes of music, dance, art, language, creativity, resourcefulness, knowledge, social justice, self-determination, and sovereignty. Richard White, Director of MSU’s Office of American Indian/Alaska Native Student Success grew up on the Navajo Nation reservation located in the four corners of the United States where he attended the Navajo Nation public school system and was introduced to Hip Hop culture. The culture of Hip Hop has been a positive influence and provided a critical understanding of Indigeneity. Often Hip Hop has been portrayed as hyper patriarchal, misogynistic, and male dominated. However, there has been a legacy of female innovators that have created spaces unique within Hip Hop culture. With strategic use, Hip hop culture can be utilized as a form of resistance against colonial pressures, and provide an avenue for students to understanding many attributes of Indigenous thought and action. 

March 29:

Intersections of Indigenous Feminism and Native Women’s Reproductive Healthcareby Abbie Bandstra, Native American Studies Master’s Candidate

Sack Lunch Seminar, Wednesday, March 29, Noon- 1 p.m., SUB 168

As feminism advances in both theory and policy, it is important to consider that reproductive healthcare has specific implications for minority women and that particularly, reproductive justice for American Indian and Alaska Native women concerns itself with many concepts, issues and ideas not necessarily a part of mainstream discourse. Join graduate student Abbie Bandstra for a presentation and discussion that considers how Indigenous feminism can help us to understand what is at stake for Native women in questions of reproductive justice within the healthcare system and how to advocate for meaningful change in these arenas. 

March 29:

Women's History Month Reception and Student of Achievement Awards

5:30 p.m., Alumni Building, South 11th Avenue

Join us for this celebration of the Students of Achievement featuring a keynote by MSU Professor Dr. Jessi Smith who will discuss "Bragging Rights (and Wrongs): The Psychology of Achievement and Self-Promotion."  please R.S.V.P. to:


Past Events 

One Woman, One History: A Conversation with Ida B. Wells 

The life of Ida B. Wells is a fascinating combination of women's history, black history, and American history. This presentation is a one-woman show about Ida B. Wells, a fierce and fearless civil rights advocate, anti-lynching crusader, suffragist, women's rights advocate, journalist, and speaker. She stands as one of our nation's most uncompromising leaders and most ardent defenders of democracy. Presenter Rosemary Lytle, President of the NAACP Colorado/Montana/Wyoming State Conference, wraps up her presentation by taking questions both as Ida B. Wells and then as herself, addressing modern day issues for people of color and the current work of the NAACP. This program is cosponsored with our friends in the Diversity Awareness Office.

Female Identity within the Irula Tribe of South India

Join us for a wonderful presentation by Sarah Webb who will present stories and images of the women living in South India's Irula tribe. Sarah spent the past year living in rural Tamil Nadu, teaching English and Social Studies to first-generation literacy students. During her stay in India, she interviewed four women about their lives as members of the Irula Tribe, exploring issues of inter-caste marriage, widow rituals and the invisibility of domestic violence and alcoholism. Her presentation will focus on the stories of each woman, as well as the intricacies of Irula rituals.

Women's History Reception and Student of Achievement Award Ceremony

Join us for the 22nd annual Women's History Month Reception and presentation of our Student of Achievement Awards, an event co-sponsored with our friends in the MSU Alumni Foundation. Our keynote speaker this year will be Kiah Abbey, community activist and MSU student leader.

Inspirational and educational lecture: "Equal Pay for Equal Work" by activist and author Lilly Ledbetter!

Join us for an educational and inspirational lecture by author and activist Lilly Ledbetter . After nineteen years of working at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber factory in her home town in Alabama, Ms. Ledbetter received an anonymous note from a colleague informing her that she was making thousands of dollars per year less than her male colleagues. For ten years, Ledbetter fought to close the gap between women's and men's wages in a historic discrimination case against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. After being awarded a settlement for gender pay discrimination in federal court, the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately overturned the ruling. On January 29, 2009, President Obama's first act of business as president was to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law. Ledbetter's story is both inspiring and educational, as her exceptional determination became a victory for the entire nation.

Join us in welcoming Lilly Ledbetter to Montana State as she shares her story, her insights, and her grit and grace with our community.There will also be copies of Ms. Ledbetter's book, Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond available for sale and signing.

This incredible honor is made possible by the generosity of The MSU Women's Center's Shannon Weatherly Lecture Series, the Associated Students of Montana State University, the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, MSU ADVANCE Project TRACS, the Year of Engaged Leadership, Leadership Institute, Career Services, Office for Institutional Equity, Women's Faculty Caucus, VOICE Center, Diversity Awareness Office, College of Letters and Science, Dean of Library, College of Agriculture, College of Education, Health and Human Development, College of Arts and Architecture, Jake Jabbs College of Business and Entrepreneurship, College of Nursing, College of Engineering, Vice President for Student Success, Equal Pay Task Force, Bozeman Business and Professional Women, Women's Foundation of Montana, and Montana National Organization for Women.

Check out the poster for more information here or call 406-994-3836.
All events are sponsored by the MSU Women's Center and our friends, and are free and open to the public.

"In the end antiblack, antifemale, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing - antihumanism." -Shirley Chisholm