Skip to main content

UK Celebrates Women’s History Month

By Jenny Wells-Hosley

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 5, 2021) — Throughout the month of March, the University of Kentucky will recognize Women’s History Month with a series of events and special programs.

Women’s History Month is about honoring the achievements and contributions women have made across the U.S. and throughout the world. The UK Martin Luther King (MLK) Center will host a variety of programs, in collaboration with its campus partners, in addition to the College of Arts and Sciences, the UK Women’s Forum, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and other campus organizations.

Many programs will honor UK women throughout the institution's history.

“This institution has an impressive history of women leaders who have shaped our identity as Kentucky’s university,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “As we celebrate Women’s History Month in March, I am humbled by the stories of these women and equally proud of those who serve at UK today.”  

Women’s History Month is an expansion of International Women’s Day (March 8), which began as a protest of the oppression and inequality of women, said Ellen D.B. Riggle, UK Gender and Women's Studies chair and professor.

"Women's History Month is a celebration of the role of women historically, and the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women," Riggle said. "The fight for social change, equality, and to end gender bias continues, and ordinary and trailblazing women — including immigrant women, Indigenous women, Black women, Women of Color, lesbian and bisexual women, trans women, and women with disabilities — engage in this struggle every day. Hopefully during this time of pandemic, the courage and vision of women throughout history inspires us all.”

This year marks the seventh MLK Center celebration of “Womxn’s HERstory Month” — something organizer Ruth González Jiménez says is “such a thrill.”

“For seven years we have held the tradition of highlighting the champions across our campus community and hosting dynamic programming for our campus and external communities,” she said. “This year we will once again offer a plethora of opportunities to engage with our center, learn about the multifaceted identity of the woman and develop a better understanding of what it truly means to be in solidarity, in community, and in sisterhood with one another, across the spectrum of womanhood.”

The remainder of Women’s History Month programming at UK will include the following:

March 8

  • “A World Without Women” will be a collaborative educational program highlighting the accomplishments of Black women. The event will be 6:30-7 p.m. on Zoom. A panel with NPHC sorority women from various fields, including STEM, business, law and education, will take part. The panel discussion is hosted by the NPHC; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.; and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority,Inc. For more information visit

March 11

  • “A Celebration of Women” tabling event will take place 9 a.m.-noon in the Jacobs Science Building. Participants will have an opportunity to write down the names of women who have influenced them and can also enjoy free treats from Tammy’s Bakery, a local Black-owned business. The event is hosted by UK Panhellenic Council’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. For more information contact  
  • “Queer Womxn Who Paved the Way”: A collaboration with the Office of LGBTQ* Resources will highlight and celebrate the global contributions of queer, trans and people (womxn) of color. The event will take place at 4 p.m. on Zoom and is hosted by the Office of LGBTQ* Resources and the MLK Center. Register through BBNVolved.  
  • “Our Rightful Place: Women at the University of Kentucky, 1880-1945” will be held 2-3 p.m. on Zoom. This Donovan Forum sponsored by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UK will feature Terry Birdwhistell and Deidre Scaggs of UK Libraries. More information including registration is available here.

March 13

March 17

March 18

  • “Latin American Diaspora Panel Series Latina: Latin American Women, History, and Present” will highlight the diversity of the Latina across North, South, and Central America and the Caribbean and will feature prominent campus faculty. It will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Zoom and is hosted by the Martin Luther King Center, the Latino Student Union, the Department of Hispanic Studies and campus experts. Register through BBNvolved.

March 23

  • The UK Women’s Forum will host the annual Sarah Bennett Holmes Awards Ceremony at noon on Zoom. This year’s ceremony is open to the campus. Register here.

March 25

  • Nietzel Visiting Distinguished Faculty Colloquium: Dr. Emily Thuma on “Interdisciplinary Conversation on Anticarceral Feminism.” This event, sponsored by the UK Department of Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS), will examine anticarceral feminism and its intersectional emergence from movements for racial and economic justice, prisoners’ and psychiatric patients’ rights, and gender and sexual liberation. This timely conversation is made possible with funds from the UK Graduate School. Thuma is author of “All Our Trials: Prisons, Policing, and the Feminist Fight to End Violence” and assistant professor of U.S. politics and law at The University of Washington, Tacoma.  She will be joined by Lydia Pelot-Hobbs, assistant professor of geography and African American and Africana studies at UK, and Ashley Ruderman-Looff, from the Department of Crime and Justice at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and an alumna of the UK GWS Ph.D. program. The conversation will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Zoom. Register here.

March 25-26

  • “I Am My Sister’s Keeper”: 2021 Sister Circle Forum is a two-day forum for young and experienced professional women of color. Non-women of color are also encouraged to join the space to develop understanding of being an ally, advocate, and accomplice to women of color. Through interactive workshops, presentations, activities, and dynamic keynote addresses, conference attendees will engage in critical conversations surrounding professional development, education and career planning, examine the legacy and present state of support between different groups of women. Presenters will offer knowledge and encouragement to participants with two major keynotes from Louisville Urban League CEO Sadiqa Reynolds and Tamika D. Mallory, social justice leader and movement strategist. Sister Circle is a community support group offered through a collaboration between the Center for Graduate and Professional Diversity Initiatives and the MLK Center. Register here

March 26

  • The UK Women’s Forum “Coffee & Connect” program will expand upon their monthly professional development topic of intersectional diversity. Guests this month will include Nicole Martin, director of Inclusive Excellence and Diversity Education at UK, and Trenika Mitchell, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion in the UK College of Pharmacy. The program will take place 8:30-9:30 a.m. on Zoom. Register here.

March 31

  • “A Conversation with Dr. Bernice King,” will feature a talk by the daughter of the two civil rights leaders, Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. The talk will take place at 6 p.m. on Zoom, and limited seating for a live screening in Worsham Cinema is available to UK students only. Learn more at


  • The UK community is invited to learn more about Kentucky women writers with UK Libraries’ Kentucky Collects guide at
  • UK Libraries historian Terry Birdwhistell will also highlight women of UK on his blog, Bird’s Eye View, which explores UK history. The first post on Leonora Hoeing, the first woman recognized at a UK Commencement, is featured now. Read more at

Next month, UK Peace Studies and Political Science will host Cornell University's Sabrina Karim for a presentation titled "Abuse of Authority Among Security Forces." Karim will discuss the impact of gender on misconduct among security force personnel. The talk will take place at 12:30 p.m. April 8, on Zoom. Register here.

For more information about Women’s History Month events, visit BBNvolved or contact the MLK Center.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.