RIC Celebrates Women’s History Month

Rhode Island College students at a rally on campus in 1956.

Rhode Island College students at a rally on campus in 1956.


A film screening and lecture on sexual attitudes will highlight historical and contemporary feminism during Women’s History Month at Rhode Island College.

“The Makers: Women who Make America” will be screened in two parts, on Monday, March 24, from noon to 1:45 p.m. in the Student Union room 307, and Wednesday, March 26, from noon to 1:45 p.m. in Gaige Hall room 307.  Each screening will be followed by a discussion led by Gender and Women’s Studies faculty.

The 2013 PBS documentary follows the impact women of various professions and backgrounds have had on establishing equal rights for their gender from the 1950s through the 1990s.  It honors Women's History Month by shedding light on the women who have been made absent and invisible in the telling of America's stories. 

The film features Hillary Clinton, comedian Ellen DeGeneres, journalist Christiane Amanpour and activist Phyllis Schlafly, among others. It also addresses women’s contributions to balancing gender employment in such industries as coal mining and medicine.

“This screening will offer an historical context to campus discussions about feminism and women’s lives,” said Leslie Schuster, director of the RIC Gender and Women’s Studies Program.  “It makes the untold stories of women visible, just as we do in Gender and Women's Studies courses.”

History and Gender and Women's Studies students will present "Museum of Teenagers and the Media," an exhibit of posters and multimedia that examines various themes and periods of young people and popular culture in American history and society. The exhibit is on Wednesday, March 26, from 6-8 p.m., in the Donovan Dining Center, second floor. 

RIC student Deirdre O’Donnell will present “What is Sex Positive Feminism?” on Monday, March 31, from 10-11:30 a.m. in the Student Union room 307.

O’Donnell’s talk focuses on how sexual attitudes influence how women see themselves and each other. O’Donnell will discuss how reevaluating biases can help facilitate open discussion around female sexual health.

O’Donnell is a Gender and Women’s Studies student and is the former development and outreach coordinator at the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health.  

“We look forward to a time when the very notion of this month will seem anachronistic because all women’s stories, lives and experiences are fully integrated into public discourse, policy and common sense,” Schuster said.

Women’s History Month has been nationally recognized annually in March since 1987 via presidential proclamation and can be traced back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911.

The National Women’s History Project, a nonprofit education organization that coordinates observances of Women’s History Month across the country, named the theme of this year’s month as Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment. 

For more information on the Women and Gender Studies program, visit https://www.ric.edu/genderWomensStudies/. For more information on Women’s History Month, visit http://www.nwhp.org.