By Kelcey Norris
March honors the multitude of accomplishments by women throughout history, and 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and the passage of the 19th Amendment.
The women of Youngstown State University are celebrating these accomplishments by hosting several events this month.
Tammy King, interim dean of the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services, is a part of YSU’s “19th Amendment Celebration, 100 Years of Women Voting Dinner” on March 26 at the DeBartolo Stadium Club.
The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “granted American women the right to vote, a right known as women’s suffrage, and was ratified on August 18, 1920, ending almost a century of protest,” according to History.com.
King said the event is to remind people how important it is to get out and vote.
“The passage of the 19th Amendment really changed, for all of us, our future,” she said.
Catherine Cercone Miller, the first female mayor elected in Mahoning County, will be the keynote speaker, and King said the event will celebrate the accomplishments of all pioneering women.
“We have to really pay respect to the women who came before us,” she said. “We don’t realize how fortunate we are.”
King said she hopes Women’s History Month will remind people to raise each other up and support one another.
The event is co-hosted by the YSU Women’s Club and the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services.
Cryshanna Jackson Leftwich, associate professor of politics and international relations and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies program, said the community involvement for this year’s celebration was overwhelming.
“This year, I didn’t have enough chairs in my conference room. There were about 20 people who came from the community and different departments who wanted to help with ideas,” she said.
With her role in the Women’s and Gender Studies program, Jackson Leftwich said it is important to identify diversity among women as individuals.
“Each woman is different with individual needs. Each group can focus on some issues, whether we’re looking at white women, black women, women who want to stay at home and women who are working moms,” she said. “Our goal is looking at their differences and how we can support them.”
Nicolette Powe, assistant professor of public health at YSU, led a “Let’s Talk About Sex” discussion on March 3 about how students can have of healthy intimate relationships.
“People might be intrigued to come because they’ll wonder, ‘Is she really going to be talking about sex. … Like sex sex?’” she said. “It’s really an opportunity to talk about sexual health and how we can have an open conversation about informed consent and shared decisions.”
Powe said March is an ideal time to appreciate the numerous accomplishments of women in medicine throughout history.
“From the American Red Cross to the American Heart Association, the list goes on,” she said. “When you think about women’s history, the question is, ‘How can we honor these women who have come before us?’”
Powe said she does not suggest one intimate lifestyle is better than another.
“Everybody has a choice. We want to make sure that they don’t make decisions based on lack of information. … Also making sure that they understand what resources or services are available for them based on the choices they will make,” she said.
Powe said she wants to raise awareness of public health concerns in the area.
“If, by chance, you choose to be sexually active, let’s explore avenues that can make that activity safer,” she said. “If you choose not to, here’s some avenues for you as well. … I intend to provide the facts and let people make their own decision.”