Marking Women’s History Month in NYC

By Alison Durkee

March is Women’s History Month and regardless of the trends in the nation’s capital, New York City will be celebrating. Gloria Steinem, Camille Paglia, and Gillian Anderson are just the beginning of the big names who will be appearing in this amazing month of female-centered talks and events.

Honor the history of the trailblazing women who have come before at events centered on such female pioneers as Jane Jacobs, the influential author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities (March 16); Billie Jean King, the tennis champ and social justice activist (March 7); and Ona Judge, a slave belonging to George Washington who managed to escape at the age of 22 (March 8). Film screenings taking place this March will also shine a light on Anne Frank (March 12) and political theorist Hannah Arendt, whose 2012 biographical film by Margarethe von Trotta will be screened on March 24 as part of a series of films by international women filmmakers.

To learn more about the hidden histories of female communities, head to The Real Sister Act (March 28), a history of black Catholic nuns and their fight for equality, or Clairvoyant Housewives, Cookbook Mavens and Other Advice Givers (March 7), which will focus on the pivotal role played by Jewish housewives as Jewish immigrants established themselves on the Lower East Side. Those looking for a more historical take on politics can head to the New-York Historical Society’s upcoming sessions on Reproductive Rights in Historical Context (March 5), a day-long event delving into reproductive justice; or Women in the White House (March 9), a historical look at how womenboth inside and outside of the First Familyhave shaped the Executive Branch; and the story of Dolley Madison and the White House (April 26). These events connect to the Historical Society‘s new Center for Women, the country’s first public exhibition and educational center dedicated to women’s history, which opens in April. 

For more contemporary takes on women’s role in society, authors Debora Spar and Julie Scelfo will discuss modern-day gender disparities at Are We There Yet, Sisters? on March 9; author and dissenting feminist voice Camille Paglia will celebrate and challenge modern-day feminism at an event on March 16. Gloria Steinem, meanwhile, will take the stage on April 6 for a discussion with Dr. Willie Parker on Parker’s book Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice. Gillian Anderson will be back in the spotlight for her book with journalist Jennifer Nadel, WE: A Manifesto for Women, at events on March 13 at the New York Society for Ethical Culture and March 14 at powerHouse Arena. Artists at El Barrio Artspace PS109 will ask So What’s Her Story? In Celebration of Women’s History Month on March 16, and there will be an intergenerational celebration of Herstory Day at the Museum of the City of New York.

A number of other upcoming events will center on women from a literary perspective. Writer and poet Sarah Manguso will be interviewed about her new book 300 Arguments on March 15, while the always insightful Rebecca Solnit will appear in conversation with writer and photographer Teju Cole on March 26. Poet Morgan Parker will appear at an event on March 29, where she will discuss her new poetry collection, There are More Beautiful Things than Beyonce, with critic Margo Jefferson and Kimberly Drew. After hearing from these female writers, try your own hand at poetry at a workshop on April 7, which will draw inspiration from famed female writer Emily Dickinson in conjunction with the Morgan Library’s exhibition I’m Nobody! Who are you? The Life and Poetry of Emily Dickinson. Literary fans can also take a moment to celebrate girls who are forging a path as writers at Girls Write Now’s reading series event on March 17 and awards ceremony on May 23.

Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, circa 1920–22. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, NM; Gift of The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, 2003.01.006. ©Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

Fans of the arts also have many ways to celebrate women this March. Visual arts lovers can learn more about the women of art history at Women in the Surrealist Movement (March 14); Jaques Marchais: A Remarkable Woman (March 18), an event focused on the renowned Tibetan art collector; or the Brooklyn Museum’s Target First Saturday on March 4, which will put a feminist spotlight on Georgia O’Keeffe and contemporary women from the worlds of art and activism. Those more inclined toward the performing arts can hear from actress Laura Linney at an oral history event on March 6, or put a comedic spin on feminism at the upcoming comedy events Drunk TED Talks: The Patriarchy (March 8) and the Brooklyn Comedy Marathon: Fierce, Funny, and Feminist (March 23).

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