Hamline News

Spotlight on the Women's Resource Center this Women's History Month

Hamline Women’s Resource Center (WRC) is an essential space for women and people of all gender identities and expressions to ask critical questions, obtain valuable resources, or just to chat. The staff offers a wide range of services, from sexual and reproductive health products to cultivating a safe space for everyone.

WRC student worker Maddie Clark works hard for Hamline’s campus community through the WRC. She ensures that supplies are available for students in need, listens and connects people with resources, and is bridging collaborations with other higher ed resource centers locally. She also hosted a Feminist Friday event, which is an ongoing guided conversation covering a wide array of feminist issues and topics.

“My [Feminist Friday] program focused on the violence that impacts indigenous womxn* and children, as well as acknowledging that indigenous bodies have always been treated as nothing more than a barrier in a white supremacist society,” explained Clark.

One of the WRC’s goals is to highlight the many intersectional identities that impact our understanding of the world around us. The WRC puts emphasis on collaboration and communication to broaden understanding among people on our campus through events and being present in our community.

March is Women’s History Month, a time to recognize, celebrate, and empower the courageous women who continue to shape our community and lives. Many women and their successes have long been devalued or erased from our history.

For Women’s History Month 2019, the WRC staff are focusing on the women left out of the conversation and who are underrepresented in today’s fight for equity and justice.

“The importance of Women’s History Month is not only to celebrate the achievement of womxn throughout history but to highlight the struggles and barriers womxn, especially womxn of color, have endured to create the rights womxn have in today’s society and the fight womxn still have to ensure those rights.”

WRC student worker Chloe McElmury said the ultimate way to celebrate the women around you is to actively build them up instead of tearing them down, and to try and understand everything that makes a woman who they are.

“Through conversations and research I've realized that there are many different types of feminism, and at its core, it's about wanting equality,” said McElmury. “I think being a woman in today's society means you are intersectional. This means taking into account all of the different traits and pieces that make you you, and embracing those bits. We should never ignore our heritage, race, language, or ability when talking about what it means for us to be women.”

Hamline has a long history of strong women leaders. In fact, Hamline’s first students were women. In 1856, Elizabeth and Emily Sorin were the first women to graduate from Hamline, making them the first to graduate from any higher education institution in the state of Minnesota. They were also the first women in Minnesota to earn their master’s degrees, also from Hamline.

“I think Hamline's history of being a trailblazing institution helps to further its mission and values today,” said McElmury. “The Sorin sisters definitely affect how Hamline as an institution values women. I think that trickles down into how our students view women, but I think there's still some work to do there, and in all of society towards respecting and building up women.”

Women's History Month is rooted in the first International Women's Day, which occurred in 1911. Eventually, in February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980, as Women's History Week, corresponding to International Women’s Day. After a long battle, in 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-9 designating the month of March to women. Since then, presidents issued yearly proclamations declaring March as Women’s History Month.

“This month is just equally for educating ourselves about the womxn who didn’t receive the recognition they deserved as it is for celebrating all womxn,” said Clark.“Besides celebrating famous womxn this month, celebrate the faces that may not be as famous-- the womxn that may have raised you, the ones who have educated you, and the womxn who have paved the way for you in the ways you may not even know.”

The next Feminist Friday event will be facilitated by Jenny Roper on April 5 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

To find out more about the event and the Women’s Resource Center, email them at wrc@hamline.edu. Find them on Instagram and Facebook @huwomensresourcecenter.

*womxn: According to the Dictionary, “a woman (used, especially in intersectional feminism, as an alternative spelling to avoid the suggestion of sexism perceived in the sequences m-a-n and m-e-n , and to be inclusive of trans and nonbinary women)”


Written by Autumn Vagle and Emma Larson