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Emory celebrates Women’s History Month, 30th anniversary of center
womens center event photo

Emory will mark Women’s History Month by celebrating the Center for Women’s 30th anniversary and by hosting events honoring past, present and future strides made by women at the university.

For the past year, the Center for Women at Emory has been celebrating 30 years of providing “the best possible environment for women as students, scholars and employees,” as the website describes. Throughout Women’s History Month in March, the center will host several events to honor past, present and future strides made by women at the university.

When the center opened in 1992, the world was beginning to see women in a new light. The Church of England started allowing female priests to be ordained, Mona Van Duyn became the first female U.S. poet laureate and Mae Jemison made history as the first African American woman in the world to go into space.

Though women attended classes at Emory in the late 19th century, Emory College did not officially admit women until 1953. It would be another decade before African American women could enroll.

“Even though women make up more than half the enrollment at many of the nation's colleges and universities, they are still institutionally marginalized as a group within society and still face gender discrimination, sexual harassment and violence on campus,” says Chanel Craft Tanner, executive director of the Center for Women.

“Women’s centers, like the one we have at Emory, provide safe spaces for women to explore issues of inequity and to receive respite from the daily sexism they may face and to do so in an intergenerational community of other women,” she adds.

Today, the Center for Women is a space for women to organize, connect and thrive. The center offers more than a dozen programs on and off campus, including a feminist advisory group called Praxis; Women in the Wilderness programs; and several affinity groups for women of color: La Terraza, The Kitchen Table and Waves. There also are several community programs, including the Junior Feminists Book Club for elementary school students and GirlCon, an annual conference for middle-school girls.

Looking forward, Tanner plans to continue the work that the center’s founder, Ali P. Crown, started, while readying the center to address 21st-century challenges.

“Thirty years from now, I imagine that women, women of color in particular, will aspire to come to Emory because they see it as an institution where they will not only belong but where they will thrive,” says Tanner. “Furthermore, when they are asked ‘why Emory?’ they are pointing to things that are coming out of the Center for Women as the reason why they chose to continue their education here.”

Celebrating excellence

Throughout Women’s History Month, the Center for Women hosts a plethora of programs. On March 2, the annual Women of Excellence Awards honored nine individuals or organizations who are making a difference. The honorees are:

  • Award for Distinguished Leadership: Theresa Wicklin Gillespie 81N 98PhD, who is a professor in the Emory University School of Medicine Department of Surgery and associate director of the Winship Cancer Institute Community Outreach and Engagement program
  • Berky Dolores Abreu Spirit Award: Patricia Y. Taylor, administrative assistant in Belonging and Community Justice
  • Award for Student Leadership: Anna-Frida Herrera, Mellon Mays Fellow and intern in Centro Latinx
  • Program of the Year Award: Georgia Health Professionals for Reproductive Justice, a collective of health care providers who support pregnant people with access to reproductive care
  • Award for Mentorship: Subasri Narasimhan, assistant professor in Rollins School of Public Health, whose research focuses on sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health, and intimate partner violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Southeastern U.S.
  • Award for Excellence in Teaching and Pedagogy: Elizabeth Bounds, associate professor of Christian ethics in Candler School of Theology, advisor for Candler Women student organization and co-founder of the Certificate in Theological Studies at Arrendale State Prison for Women
  • Alumna of Promise Award: Wei Wei Chen 18C, writer/producer of creative marketing for CNN and winner of the 2018 Emory College of Arts and Sciences McMullan Award
  • Unsung Heroine Award: Elizabeth Collins, OB/GYN at Emory University Hospital in Midtown and advocate for LGBTQ+ patient care
    women hiking

    women outdoors

Women’s History Month events

Monday, March 13

12 p.m., Woodruff Library, Jones Room

The James Weldon Johnson Institute (JWJI) for the Study of Race and Difference is hosting women-identifying speakers during the month of March for its Race and Difference Colloquium series. Karen Jaime, assistant professor of performing and media arts and Latina/o studies at Cornell University, will be the first Women’s History Month speaker for this weekly event with scholars presenting academic research on contemporary questions of race and intersecting dimensions of difference.

Saturday, March 18

5:30 p.m., Sweetwater Creek State Park

In honor of her birthday and legacy, at the annual Harriet Tubman Hike, participants take a moonlight hike to honor the ways that her connection to the land helped her guide people to freedom. 

Monday, March 20

12 p.m., Woodruff Library, Jones Room

JWJI is hosting women-identifying speakers during the month of March for its Race and Difference Colloquium series. Allison Parker, chair of the history department at the University of Delaware, will present research regarding “Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell — Suffragist and Civil Rights Activist.”

Wednesday, March 22

12 p.m., Center for Women

The center will continue celebrating its 30th anniversary with food, giveaways and more at the Dirty Thirty Party.

Friday, March 24

3 p.m., Emory Softball Field

Support women in sports during Women's Night at the softball game versus Case Western Reserve.

Monday, March 27

12 p.m., Woodruff Library, Jones Room

JWJI is hosting women-identifying speakers during the month of March for its Race and Difference Colloquium series. Institute fellow Kiela Crabtree will present on “Hate Has No Labels: Challenges of Measurement and Meaning in Historical Racial Violence.”

6 p.m., Black Student Union

Black Girls Film Camp offers high school girls the chance to learn how to pitch and produce movies. Every year, the Center for Women at Emory hosts a screening of their films. 

Wednesday, March 29

11 a.m., Rollins School of Public Health, Margaret Rollins Room

The Emory Black Employee Network will host its first Women's Appreciation Luncheon to celebrate the voices of the Black Women of Emory. Author and motivational speaker Monica McCoy will be the guest speaker. This event is open to all Emory alumni and employees. 

12 p.m., Asbury Circle

Stop by Women’s Wonderful Wednesday, a special edition of Wonderful Wednesday celebrating women at Emory.

1 p.m., Woodruff Library, Rooms 312 and 314

Wikipedia is one of the most popular search tools and the world, but entries about women often contain limited information. At Emory’s 8th annual Women of Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, bring your laptop to update women’s entries on the site.

6 p.m., Emory Student Center Plaza

At the Graduating Women of Promise pinning ceremony, the community recognizes graduating students who have demonstrated leadership, inclusivity and a commitment to making Emory a better place for all.

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