In 1972, landmark legislation Title IX prohibited sex discrimination in schools and forever changed the way women are treated in education. For example, pregnant students were no longer expelled and women gained admission to colleges and universities that previously denied them, tenure-track positions at universities and more athletic opportunities.
This year's Women's Week at North Dakota State University, titled "Moving Mountains," will pay special tribute to the 40th Anniversary of Title IX. From Monday, Feb. 25, to Friday, March 1, several events and presentations are scheduled to celebrate and recognize women's ongoing journey toward equality.
"Women's Week is a good opportunity to remember the contributions from women in history and to recognize women making history now, whether on campus or nationally or globally," said Regina Ranney, diversity program coordinator at NDSU.
The purpose of Women's Week is similar to that of other cultural heritage months, she said. It began at NDSU in 1982 and is held annually to highlight women's accomplishments and perspectives that have not always been represented in history.
She said one goal of this year's theme is for attendees to realize how much progress has been made within recent years. "So much of this happened in my lifetime. Some people may leave presentations thinking, ‘I'm thankful I didn't have to struggle the same way my mom or grandma had to.' Hopefully some events will help people not take things for granted like a nondiscrimination statement or having protection against sexual harassment."
Everyone is invited to take part in Women's Week activities. "While "Women" is in the title, men are encouraged to attend; the topics are important and relevant for everyone," Ranney said.
Events include a leadership networking reception for women on campus; a presentation by Amy Ruley, associate athletic director for development, and Lynn Dorn, women's athletic director, discussing the past 40 years in women's athletics; and a FORWARD After 5 presentation where presenters will talk about the NDSU climate for women after five years of the FORWARD grant.
Shannon Galpin, founder of the nonprofit, Mountain2Mountain, will present "The Perceptions of Victimhood and the Power of Voice," on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m. in Beckwith Recital Hall.
Since 2006, Galpin has worked on behalf of women and children in conflict zones. After four years in Afghanistan, she challenged gender barriers and developed long-term strategies focused on connecting communities and sparking conversation. She brought these lessons home to the U.S. to empower survivors of gender violence with her newest program, Strength in Numbers.
Galpin, who grew up in Bismarck, N.D., is the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan. She was named a 2013 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.