In August 2020, women will have had the right to vote for 100 years.

During Women's History Month at Missouri State, students can engage in dialogue about issues facing modern women as well as reflect on the past and the women who paved the way for women and girls today.

But what exactly does it mean to be a woman today?

“For me, what it means to be a woman is really defined individually within each woman’s experience,” said Dola Flake, Diversity Transition and Support Coordinator within the Multicultural Service Center at Missouri State. “There’s no single characteristic or trait, for me, that defines women.”

In 1920, women earned the right to vote, serve on a jury and join the military.

Every year, March is declared Women’s History Month to celebrate all of the women who have made an impact in their communities, countries and around the world. 

“A common thing between women is that we live in a society where we continue to fight for equity, justice and an equal level of appreciation given to women in comparison to men,” Flake said.

To continue the celebration of women and all they have accomplished in today’s society, Missouri State is hosting a variety of seminars, talks and ceremonies in honor of Women’s History Month.

“It’s important because it highlights traditionally ignored roles in women’s history,” said Camryn Mahnken, president of the American Association of University Women at MSU, while speaking about the importance of the events being held.

Mahnken said the events are held to educate and empower women to be able to do ground-breaking work on the university.

Student Activities Council is also taking part in Women’s History Month by hosting films that feature women in history to inspire women of the university.

“Having a woman who inspires me and provides support was essential, and my grandmother was really that person in my life who believed in me and encouraged me,” Flake said. “Even if what I wanted to do did not fit social norms, she supported me in whatever that was.”

Women’s Herstory Month kicked off March 2 with a seminar on gender equality.

The events to come include speaker Tarana Burke, a civil rights activist and founder of the “Me Too” Movement. She will be speaking in Juanita K. Hammons Hall on Tuesday, March 10.

Also speaking will be Lupita Perez-Lopez, MSU sudent, as well as Dr. Katherine Gilbert, director of the Humanities and Ethics Center at Drury University.

Most notably, there will be a Womxn of Distinction Award Reception on March 25 to highlight women on campus and around the Springfield area who serve as leaders in the community.

All events are free and open to the public, students, faculty and staff.  

“Being a woman means that you are part of a demographic that continues to fight for equity and equality,” Flake said.