As we approach the end of March, Women’s History Month, just as with Black History Month, Hardin-Simmons University celebrates the importance of the legacies left behind and how much we love, appreciate, and admire these special groups of people. The acknowledgement and celebration goes on year round.
Why do we celebrate? Women’s History Month was and is designed to educate the country about women’s roles in the entire historical narrative, all women. It is to make sure women become better recognized and incorporated into the entire narrative. It is an opportunity to highlight education and activism.
Since 1924, March 8, has been celebrated as International Women’s Day. In 1980, newly-elected President Jimmy Carter designated the first week of March as National Women’s History Week. This was his way of giving support to the Equal Rights Amendment from 1923 written by Alice Paul (almost a hundred years later and still not in our Constitution).
For 2021, the chosen theme for International Women’s Day was “Choose to Challenge” and was represented by the raising of a hand. “Women on this campus have chosen to challenge and are choosing to challenge,” said Dr. Tiffany Fink, professor of history at Hardin-Simmons. “In 2018, my friends joined me in a deliberate effort to recognize and change the fact that nothing before then had been done on campus to celebrate women. We started the hashtag #HSUcelebrateswomen and that March of 2018 had a chapel service in Logsdon, where we taught everyone the ten values of International Women’s Day.”
Three years later, HSU continues to celebrate Women’s History and all the women on our campus -- faculty, staff, and students. This past March 18, the Social Work Club and Student Life sponsored a Women’s International Empowerment Month event on Anderson Lawn. Female vendors from around Abilene came and spoke as well as our own faculty, staff and students leading in prayers, poems and other words of encouragement.
Tomorrow (March 26) from 4-6 p.m. on the rooftop of Moody, HSU Greek Life Women Clubs will be sponsoring the Empowered Women Empower Women Vendor Market. For the entire month of March HSU is hosting a “Panties for the Pandemic'' drive with ample drop off locations around campus. Accepted donations include toiletries, underwear and other feminine products, new and unopened, and will be given to local organizations who support women and youth including New Beginnings, Love & Care Ministries, Abilene Hope Haven and Noah Project.
“Women weren’t just important because they were women,” Dr. Fink said. “Women were and are important because they were and are citizens, soldiers, leaders, pioneers, writers, thinkers, scientists, pastors, entrepreneurs, activists, caregivers, doers, human-beings.”
Jesus believed women had just as much access to Him and the love offered by God as men. That is all that feminism is, believing, acknowledging and acting on that truth.
“It is not antithetical to Christianity to be a feminist. They are not mutually exclusive beliefs,” Dr. Fink said. “Jesus loved women. He elevated, protected, empowered women. He offered women an equal place at the table -- love, salvation, ministry, healing, comfort, peace. There is nothing in the life of Jesus Christ that is in line with oppressing women, silencing women or putting them in subservient positions.”