Student Life and Leadershiphas put together a campaign called Women’s HERstory Week to honor the progress and history of women’s issues from March 5 to 9. The week leads up to today, International Women’s Day.
As a whole, the event is devoted to celebrating women in history as well as discussing the status of women today. The various events focus on the history of women both nationally and internationally.
“Women’s HERstory event is in March — it’s a month dedicated to the past, present and future accomplishments of women,” Gender Equity Center and Safer coordinator Christina Kaviani said. “Cal Poly adopted it in 1994 when the Women’s Center was established.”
According to Gender Equity Center student assistant and food science sophomore Nicole Lanshaw, Women’s HERstory Week studies and presents different movements throughout women’s history.
“Hopefully, it brings awareness to the history of women and expanding ideas on sexual orientation, gender equity and race,” Lanshaw said.
The series touches on topics such as understanding how different cultures intersect, how they are related and how the plight of women expands.
“Each presenter for all of the events is a student assistant,” Lanshaw said. “It’s a pretty basic presentation. All of Student Life and Leadership’s presentations are very intricate and discussion-based. We always have time at the end for discussion.”
Women’s HERstory Week kicked off with Lesbians in World War II on Monday, followed by Minervana and “A Powerful Noise” screening on Tuesday and featuredThe History of Women at Cal Poly yesterday.
There were approximately 140 people in attendance for Tuesday’s Minervana.
“(Minervana is) a (collection) of theatrical pieces, songs, dance productions and poetry that are representative of women’s stories and are just celebrating women in them,” Gender Equity Center student assistant and philosophy senior Michelle Houston said.
The show is a collaboration between the Gender Equity Center and Students’ Stage. Students’ Stage is a theater organization run entirely by students that allows students to be actively engaged in theater.
Every year, Minervana changes to accommodate new projects created by the different students that get involved.
“Generally with our events, we have different student assistants working on these projects each year;” Houston said. “(They) bring (a) different viewpoint to the event.”
The Gender Equity Center student assistants tend to have a lot of flexibility when it comes to what they want to accomplish and what they want to see happen.
“Through each of the different events, we’re really just looking to share how important women are,” Houston said. “(Events) are based on our interest and what we feel is important to share with the community.”
A big part of Women’s HERstory is empowering women to do influential things and reaching out to them.
According to Houston, the events try to encourage women “to stand up for themselves, accomplish things, work hard and know that they have shared stories and support from other women,” as well as “opening up eyes to a divide and then trying to get rid of that barrier,” which is what the Gender Equity Center tries to accomplish in general.
Houston said the events this week have gone well.
“We’ve had really good turnouts for everything,” Houston said. “The responses we’ve gotten have been really positive.”
The last event of the week is Black Women in Television. The presentation will be held today from noon to 1 p.m. in University Union, room 219. The Women’s HERstory events are open to the entire community and are free.
“I hope (Women’s HERstory) assists students and faculty and staff to see the challenges women have faced and successes that they have had,” Kaviani said.