By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer
Because March is Women’s History Month, the Multicultural Affairs office is hosting multiple events throughout the month to celebrate women in multiple ways.
On March 1, Baylor Media recognized the university’s first female graduate, Mary Gentry Kavanaugh, and how her determination set a path for women of the time.
Edmond, Okla., graduate apprentice Madelynn Lee sits on the planning committee for Women’s History Month for the Multicultural Affairs office. She said that elevating stories and expressing female voices, both past and present, are main concepts the events. As the committee starts planning in late fall for the entire month, Lee explained that they collaborate with the women’s and gender studies department along with the history department.
Lee expressed excitement about the deepening conversations and opportunities for students to learn and share.
“I think [this upcoming lecture] that’s going to be a really interesting conversation, it’s about female political power before women’s rights to vote, and so I think that’s just going to be a really cool glimpse at women in history before the suffrage movement,” Lee said. “And just kind of give some perspective to some of the ways that women have impacted politics long before we would traditionally think that they had a political voice.”
While the entire month is dedicated to empowering women, Lee explained how celebration and elevating stories are major themes to follow for the month as well.
“We have a whole range of different things going on, things that talk about women in politics, we’re doing a wellness event and just elevating women’s stories and achievements in the community,” Lee said. “And so, I think celebration just comes to mind as kind of encompassing everything that we are hoping to accomplish.”
Brentwood, Tenn., graduate student Balee Schwalb, who also sits on the planning committee, shared that themes surrounding women’s issues including body image and navigating male-dominated fields are also important ideas to pay attention to this month.
“With the yoga event specifically, you don’t have to do yoga the best, you don’t have to be that person that’s doing the sequence perfect, you just have to show up and be there and say, ‘I’m a woman, and I’m capable of doing whatever I set my mind to, and just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean that I can’t be good at something,’” Schwalb said.
Schwalb shared how small things can also play a large role in empowering women along with the major events. For example, having a female-dominated playlist playing in the SUB, having a wall in the Multicultural Affairs office for students to write down inspiring women and having a female yoga instructor for an event are all small ways the Multicultural Affairs office has been celebrating this March.
Schwalb explained how she enjoys Baylor’s intentionality during this month as she didn’t see it during her undergraduate years at a different institution.
“I think in society oftentimes women get looked over, and so I’m really excited that we have an opportunity for women to be highlighted in all different kinds of ways,” Schwalb said. “Things that you normally wouldn’t think about that gender matters, [we’re] just like trying to make sure that we can highlight women as much as possible.”
Along with lectures talking about the influence of women in politics and music, there are also events for wellness and an open mic session for students to share what inspires them. Some events do require registration on the Multicultural Affairs’ website. Not only can students learn from these events, but they can better understand how the path that Mary Gentry Kavanaugh laid out in 1865 can still be seen today.