Women’s History Month 2019: Talks and Events Coming Up in NYC

By Alison Durkee

Happy Women’s History Month! All month long, organizations across the city are paying tribute to the role that women have played in shaping the world. Learn more at these upcoming talks and events.

On March 17, head to the Women of the World Festival, a full day of talks and workshops with trailblazing women on key issues, including politics, culture, the arts, and more. Sessions to look out for include a discussion with iconic activist Angela Davis; a panel on “leadership hacks” for women; a conversation with White House correspondent April Ryan; and a panel discussion on Surviving R. Kelly and the galvanizing power of television.

Those who can’t make the festival still have plenty of chances to learn about women’s role in arts and culture. Film fans and professionals can join together to explore the current role black women are playing in filmmaking at the Black Women’s Film Conference on March 17, while animation and special effect fans can learn about one of Disney’s first female animators, Milicent Patrick, at a talk March 14. This Women’s History Month will also feature a number of films by and about women: the Brooklyn Museum will screen works by female Brooklyn-based filmmakers at a film night March 28, and the Brooklyn Historical Society will screen Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work March 19. On March 24, see French actress Isabelle Huppert’s career reflected onscreen in the film I Love Isabelle Huppert, which will be followed by a conversation with the actress herself.

Performing arts fans can also learn more about women’s role in South Asian performing arts communities at a panel discussion on March 16, which is presented in collaboration with Brooklyn Raga Massive. Dance lovers can see the works of a trailblazing female choreographer, Anna Sokolow, come to life onstage at a performance March 21, or hear from current ballet star Misty Copeland as the pioneering ballerina appears in conversation April 8.

New Yorkers with a greater interest in the visual arts can head to the Cooper Hewitt museum on March 28, where multidisciplinary artist and designer Rebeca Méndez will be discussing her work and the installation Rebeca Méndez Selects. On March 22, learn about the role women have played in a different kind of art form—the culinary arts—at a Books Are Magic event sharing the stories of female food figures who have made their mark on history.

Of course, women have also made an impact in the worlds of politics and social justice. Learn more about political trailblazers of the past at the New-York Historical Society, where biographer Blanche Wiesen Cook will discuss Eleanor Roosevelt and her relationship with husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt March 21, and author Evan Thomas will discuss former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor March 18. Hear from a top political figure directly on March 26, as former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano discusses her new book How Safe Are We?: Homeland Security Since 9/11. On the social justice front, learn about pioneering journalist Dorothy Butler Gilliam, who used her career to fight for civil rights, as she appears in conversation March 14, or get acquainted with former Planned Parenthood head Cecile Richards as she discusses her career and fight against injustice March 25.

Women have also made a difference on a more local level when it comes to affecting change in New York City. Hear stories of New York’s female leaders at Yeah She Did: She Built This City on March 27, or delve into urban activist Jane Jacobs’ fight for NYC at a screening March 26. New Yorkers can also hit the streets for female-centric walking tours this March: a March 23 tour will highlight the contributions that female architects have made to the city’s skyline, and a March 31 tour will explore the Suffragette movement in NYC (including Victoria Woodhull, above, the first woman to run for President) and its connections to the American Spiritualist movement.

Not all women have made the history books for positive contributions. For a look at some of the more horrifying deeds done by historical women, head to Death Becomes Us: An Evening of Women Who Kill (March 19), which centers on famed murderess Lizzie Borden and Belle Gunness, another female serial killer who hasn’t received the same fanfare for her crimes. A March 18 talk will focus on Sophie Lyons, a 19th century con woman turned 20th century philanthropist, and why it’s important to hear the stories of criminal women throughout history.

Thought Gallery has New York’s state of mind. Sign up for our weekly Curriculum and get the best of smart NYC delivered right to your inbox.