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Celebration of Women’s History Month highlights political involvement

Photo by: Zachary D. Elick

Photo credit: Zachary D. Elick

Photo by: Zachary D. Elick
Written by: Zachary D. ElickMarch 21, 2017

Written by: Zachary D. Elick

The Women’s Studies program is celebrating Women’s History Month this year by hosting three events in the IPFW Honors Center Lounge focused on the theme of women in politics in the IPFW Honors Center Lounge.

The first event was a panel discussion, Women in International Politics, held from noon to 1:30 p.m on March 16. Moderated by Anthropology professor Noor Borbieva, the event featured political science professors Georgia Wralstad-Ulmschneider and James Toole and French professor Nancy Virtue.

The second event is another panel, Women in Local Politics, which will be held from noon to 2 p.m. March 23. Moderated by political science professor Michael R. Wolf, the event will feature three female panelists involved with the local political process. Sharon Tucker is an Allen County councilwoman (D-1st District); Nancy McCammon-Hansen is a convenor for the Fort Wayne League of Woman Voters; and Rachel Rayburn is an IPFW professor of public policy.

“(The focus of ‘Women in Local Politics’ is) on the way women can be involved in politics and civil society, very broadly defined,” Ann Livschiz, history professor, said via email. “The goal is to showcase the different ways women are involved in the process, but also to show those interested how they can also get involved.”

Livschiz, along with Virtue, is part of the small group of faculty members who support the Women’s Studies program through “service responsibilities,” teaching or both, Virtue said.

The third event is a screening of the documentary, “Anita” (2013) at 6 p.m. on March 30. The film details Anita Hill’s controversial sexual harassment accusations against her former boss U.S Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991.

Hill, an attorney and academic, has been considered by many as a feminist icon since the hearings for highlighting the issues of workplace sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

“(The documentary ‘Anita’) puts those hearings in the context of the struggle for women’s rights,” Virtue said.

Refreshments and snacks will be provided at both upcoming events, Women in Local Politics and the “Anita” screening, Virtue said.

The decision to make politics the theme of the 2017 Women’s History Month celebration was made last fall before the 2016 Presidential election was decided, said Monica Young, IPFW alumna and program secretary.

“A lot of us thought Hillary Clinton would be president, so a lot of us thought it would be super timely, which I think it still is,” Young said. “(Politics) was just on everyone’s minds.”

The timeliness of Clinton’s historic run — as the first female presidential nominee of a major U.S. party — was detectable in Borbieva’s opening comments of March 16’s panel.

“I think there is a lot of people in the country, and especially on our campus — in our circle — that believed that the United States was really ready for a woman president,” Borbieva said to the roughly 40 people who attended the panel. “Well, of course things turned out otherwise. So, today we want to reflect on a little bit about the situation in the United States, but also look at how women abroad have fared.”