Women's Heritage Month

In the U.S., Women’s History Month initially grew from a week of celebrating women’s contributions to culture, history and society that was organized in 1978 by the Sonoma, California school district. Presentations were made in schools across the district and there was an essay contest and a parade. Soon after, other school districts and communities started creating their own celebrations.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. Congress passed a resolution establishing a national celebration the next year. Six years later, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March.

March was chosen to coincide with International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women that took place for the first time on March 8, 1911. Many countries around the world celebrate it today. Since 1975, it has been sponsored by United Nations.

The University of Oregon celebrates Women’s History Month each year with a wide variety of events that celebrate, honor and highlight the work and contributions of Women.



2017 UO Women's Heritage Month Events

In celebration of Women’s History Month this March, the Division of Equity and Inclusion at the University of Oregon proudly presents a special program: Yes We Can. This event shares struggles unique to girls and women, and features information and stories from around the globe, across the state, and specific to the UO. Stories from Girl Rising, the Emmy nominated documentary directed by Richard E. Robbins, shed light on the import role education plays in breaking the cycle of poverty.  The program includes a panel discussion with focus on the unique challenges girls and women face in Oregon and at the UO.  The panel represent perspectives from the film Girl Rising, The Women’s Foundation of Oregon, UO faculty, undergraduate and graduate students (see program below). Be a part of breaking down barriers by joining this important conversation and advancing educational opportunities for girls and women in our communities and all over the world. Women and allies alike are invited to participate in the Q&A session with panelists.

Last Year's 2017 Event


Welcome – Provost Scott Coltrane

Film – Girl Rising


  • Lisa Snell, regional recruiter for PeaceCorps (global perspective)
    • Lisa joined Peace Corps in January 2016 as Regional Recruiter for the West Region/Oregon. Peace Corps is an independent agency within the executive branch of the United States government charged with providing the highest quality support to volunteers, particularly in the areas of health, safety, and security. Prior to this appointment, she was a manger of training and communication, and District Manager for US Brand Stores with Columbia Sportswear since 2009. She graduated from Kalamazoo College with a BA in English and served with Peace Corps in Morocco in 2003-2005. She’s inspired to work with Peace Corps because she finds Americans, from all walks of life, ages, and backgrounds who commit making a difference in the world.
  • Nancy Golden, UO professor and former Oregon Chief Education officer (regional perspective)
    • Nancy Golden, a UO alumna,  joined the UO’s College of Education in January 2016 as its first professor of practice for the Department of Educational Methodology, Policy, and Leadership. Prior to this appointment, she served as Chief Education officer with the Oregon Education Investment Board from 2013-2015, as well as Education Advisor to Governor John Kitzhaber in 2011. Nancy served as superintendent for Springfield Public Schools from 2003-2013 and was named 2011 Oregon Superintendent of the year by the Confederation of School Administrators. With a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the UO, Nancy has over 30 years of experience in the educational field and is an expert in learning organization, group process, facilitation skills, school supervision, and curriculum delivery and design.
  • Ellen Scott, professor (UO faculty perspective)
    • Ellen Scott joined the UO in 2001 as Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and is currently serving as Associate Head and Graduate Advisor for the Women’s and gender Studies Department. Her teaching interests include social inequality, gender, feminist theory, race and ethnicity, and welfare policy. Her research interests include intersections of gender, race, class and sexualities as well as poverty, low-wage labor, and family life. Prior to joining the UO, Ellen taught at Kent State University for four years.
  • Kayla Vargas, student (UO graduate student perspective)
    • Kayla is completing her Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology. Her clinical work to date involves primarily working with undergraduates, and she has a passion for issues of social justice and advocacy for individual facing oppression – particularly in LGBQTIA, Spanish speaking populations, and eating disorder recovery communities. She is focused on developing as a researcher, a clinician, an educator, an advocate, and a human being.
  • Sara Golestaneh, student (UO undergraduate student perspective)
    • Sara is an Iranian-American who speaks English, Farsi, and Arabic. She studies international Studies, Arabic and Middle East and North Africa Studies at the UO with an expected graduation date of June 2017. She serves as the International Student Coordinator at the ASUO Women’s Center working with international students and other marginalized communities on campus. She received a Gilman Scholarship to study Arabic at the Qasid Institute in Jordan during the summer of 2016. She’s interested in becoming an immigration lawyer in order to help people from the Middle East who migrate to the US, as well as working with refugee populations coming to the US.