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March 3, 2016
By Lee Volmer, media relations assistant
Northwest Missouri State University will host a series of events this month to recognize the achievements of women and commemorate Women’s History Month.
Under the theme “Working to Form a More Perfect Union: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government,” activities will include an interactive presentation with Maryville Mayor Renee Riedel, a lecture by women’s equality activist Lilly Ledbetter, and a screening of the women’s suffrage movement film “Iron Jawed Angels.”
All events are free and open to the public.
“Even though it has been almost 100 years since women got the right to vote and 50 years since the feminist movement of the 1960s and 70s, women are still severely underrepresented in government,” Dr. Elyssa Ford, assistant professor of history at Northwest, said. “This year’s theme and the events at Northwest help bring attention to women’s involvement in government and public service, how hard they have worked to get where they are today, and to understand how much work is left to be done.”
Women’s History Month events at Northwest begin with an informal question and answer session with Riedel from 5 to 6 p.m. Monday, March 14, in Meeting Room A, located on the third floor of the J.W. Jones Student Union. The discussion will highlight her role as mayor, her advancement to the position, the challenges she has encountered, and what it is like to be a woman in government.
Riedel was elected mayor in 2014 and was appointed to the Maryville City Council in 2012. She and her husband moved in 2006 to Maryville from Denver, Colorado, to own and operate a downtown business, Carson’s Sports Grille.
Riedel’s presentation will inform interested students about the responsibilities and challenges of local government and public service work.
“This also is a really great opportunity for education majors,” Ford said. “Many people in primary and secondary education teach their students about local government and about women’s history. This session will allow education majors to get some firsthand experience talking with a mayor and learning more about that position.”
Northwest will host women’s equality activist Lilly Ledbetter as part of its Distinguished Lecture Series at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, in the Charles Johnson Theater located in the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building. Ledbetter also will talk with students and faculty at 3:30 p.m. Room 40 of the Valk Center.
Ledbetter landed her dream job in 1979 at the Goodyear tire company and was one of the first females to be hired at the management level. After nearly two decades at the company, however, she discovered she was receiving thousands of dollars less than her male peers.
Ledbetter fought the injustice, taking her case to the Supreme Court and eventually becoming the namesake of President Barack Obama’s first official piece of legislation in 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act.
In 2012, Ledbetter authored “Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond,” which she reveals the trials she has faced in her life and how she overcame them. Ledbetter continues to fight for equal rights by encouraging other women and minorities to join the pursuit for equality.
The Northwest community is invited to a screening of the film “Iron Jawed Angels” from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31, in the Student Union Living Room.
The documentary directed by Katja von Garnier tells the remarkable and little-known story of a group of passionate and dynamic young women, led by Alice Paul (Hilary Swank) and her friend Lucy Burns (Frances O'Connor). The women put their lives on the line in the 1900s to fight for American women's right to vote.
In addition, students in Northwest women’s history course, “The American Woman,” designed cards featuring women throughout government and public service. The cards will be displayed in the Student Union to educate students about the achievements of women past and present.
National Women's History Month was founded in 1987 when the U.S. Congress declared that it be celebrated during March in perpetuity. A presidential proclamation is issued annually to honor the achievements of American women.
Women’s History Month activities at Northwest are sponsored by the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Office of Title IX/ADA, and the Office of Multicultural Student Success.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468