Campus News

UK celebrates Women's History Month

Two women taking a selfie.
UK Vice President for Institutional Diversity Katrice Albert (left) with Mary Porter at a UK Women's Forum event. Women's Forum is one of many campus partners hosting programs during Women's History Month at UK in March. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 1, 2023) — March is Women's History Month — commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in America. Throughout history, women have faced a distinct set of challenges while continuing to make crucial contributions to our communities in both private and professional settings.

At the University of Kentucky, now more than ever, the community is making strides to acknowledge, celebrate and elevate the voices of those history has often overlooked. With programs like Ubuntu, Latinx Heritage Month, the MLK Day celebration and, most recently, Black History Month, UK is honoring the communities that have shaped the institution's story. 

To celebrate Women’s History Month, a planning committee, which includes UK Martin Luther King Center's undergraduate interns and campus partners, will host a variety of events for the campus community to participate in titled Womxn’s HERStory Month.

Que émocion! I am thrilled to celebrate Womxn’s HERStory Month,” said Ruth Gonzalez Jimenez, MLK Center’s Latino student community specialist. “When I was a student at UK and an intern at the MLK Center, I helped coordinate Womxn’s HERStory Month. It is a pleasure to now help current MLK interns do the same.

“Being a part of a committee full of women makes me feel empowered,” said Najiya Clayborn, MLK administrative support intern. “Our voices were at the forefront of this year’s vision. We are confident in our decisions and only want the best for our ladies near and on campus.” 

Clayborn emphasized that all of the programs are open to everyone at UK and in the greater Lexington Community. 

The Womxn’s HERStory Month celebration will kick off at 11 a.m. Monday, March 6, with pop-up booths across campus. The UK community is invited to stop by, take a selfie and pick up cupcakes, cookies, cuties and Womxn’s HERStory Month swag (buttons, stickers, etc.).

On International Women's Day on March 8, the community is invited to attend the Prominent Women in Islam event with speaker Ustadha Lobna Mulla at 6 p.m. at the MLK Center, to learn the significance and importance of the hijab and why it matters so much to the women who wear it. This event is not only a part of the Womxn’s HERStory Month celebration but is also a part of UK’s Islamic Awareness Week, hosted by UK's Muslim Student Association. This, like all events, are open to the community to learn and engage in intercultural exchange. 

The community is also invited to attend the Womxn’s HERStory Month keynote address with Lynae Vanee at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 23, in the Gatton Student Center Ballroom AB. Vanee, an NAACP Image Award nominee, is a multifaceted poet, producer and director who will speak on the importance of liberating women. A graduate of Spelman College and Boston University, Vanee uses her digital platforms to speak on race, feminism, politics and inclusivity. Her address will be followed by a moderated discussion with Kishonna Gray, Ph.D., UK associate professor in writing, rhetoric, and digital studies and Africana studies.

The MLK Center will close out the month with the annual Coretta Scott King Celebration and Awards Dinner, where campus champions will be recognized through the Sisters Inspiring Sisters (SIS) Awards. The SIS Awards will recognize a graduate and undergraduate student and a staff and faculty member who have demonstrated commitment, sisterhood and service to other women on campus and beyond. 

For a full list of Women’s History Month events throughout March, see below.  

El Mes de la Historia de las Mujeres!

Learn what it means to be a woman in Latin America and the different advances that are being made to gain equal rights for women. The meeting will be in Spanglish (a mix of Spanish and English). If you do not feel comfortable speaking Spanish, you are more than welcome to speak in English. Hay Que Hablar tries to be as inclusive as possible.

  • 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 1 | Lewis Honors College, room U134 
  • Hosted by Hay Que Hablar.

135 Years of UK Women Anniversary Luncheon

The UK Alumni Association is celebrating the 135th anniversary of the first female graduate at UK, Belle C. GunnThis is a private event; pre-registration is required:

  • Noon-2 p.m. Thursday, March 2 | Gatton Student Center, Harris Ballroom

Womxn’s HERStory Month pop-ups

  • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, March 6
    • MLK Cultural Center | Gatton Student Center A230
    • White Hall Classroom Building
    • Jacobs Science Building
    • Lewis Honors College Scholars Lounge 
    • Center for Graduate & Professional Diversity Initiatives (Kentucky Clinic location)
    • The Office of China Initiatives Lounge  

"The Edge of Each Other’s Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde”  

This powerful documentary is a tribute to Black lesbian feminist poet Audre Lorde (1934-1992). One of the most celebrated icons of feminism's second wave, Lorde inspired several generations of activists with her riveting poetry, serving as a catalyst for change and uniting the communities of which she was a part.

  • 2 p.m. Tuesday, March 7 |  Donovan Hall, room 001 
  • Hosted by Lewis Honors College.

Sister Circle: Real Relationships

The second installment of this discussion will focus on healthy relationships. 

  • 4:30-6 p.m. Tuesday March 7 | Worsham Cinema, Gatton Student Center

A History of Empowerment

Learn how women have shaped global society in music, politics and art, and how they have contributed to ensuring that our society continues to prosper. 

  • 6:10-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 7 | MLK Center
  • Hosted by the OZ Chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma and BIILS: Brotherhood, Inclusivity, Integrity, Leadership, Service 

Hijab Try-On and Give-Away

Women in Islam tabling where participants will receive hijabs, learn how to wear one and learn the differences between Burkas, hijabs and other headwear across Islam.

  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday, March 8 | MLK Center
  • Hosted by the Muslim Student Association.

Prominent Women in Islam

Learn the significance and importance of the hijab and why it matters so much to the women who wear it. All are welcome to join the conversation.

  • 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8 | MLK Center
  • Hosted by the Muslim Student Association and the MLK Center.

Leading Ladies Trivia

Come out and play with the Butterflies of AO and learn more about the trailblazing women in our world.

  • 5-6 p.m. Wednesday, March 22 | White Hall Classroom Building, room 110 
  • Hosted by the Alpha Omicron Chapter of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc.

An Evening with Lynae Vanee: Women’s History Month keynote speaker

  • 5 p.m. Thursday, March 23 | Gatton Student Center, Ballroom AB
  • Register here.
  • Cosponsored by the Office of LGBTQ* Resources; The Center for Graduate & Professional Diversity Initiatives; Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies; Department of African American & Africana Studies; Underground Perspectives; The Office for Off Campus & Commuter Students and the Office for Community Engagement.

Outside the Margins: The Health Gap: Gender Equity, Bias, and Everyday Sexism 

One in five women say they have felt that a health care provider has ignored or dismissed their symptoms, and 17% say they feel they have been treated differently because of their gender — compared with 14% and 6% of men, respectively. Stereotypes about gender affect how doctors treat illnesses, approach their patients and fuel a lack of inclusivity in research studies. Gender bias can also impact female healthcare providers professionally, leading to fewer women in leadership in academic medicine. Join a panel of UK faculty and UK HealthCare providers as they explore gender bias and what organizations can do to support patients and providers. 

  • Noon-1 p.m. Tuesday, March 27 | webinar on Zoom.
  • Register here.
  • Hosted by the College of Medicine Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, the Martin Luther King Center and Hues in Medicine.

The Coretta Scott King Womxn’s HERStory Month Awards & Celebration Dinner

The event will celebrate highlight and honor members of the campus community who actively embody the work and legacy of Coretta Scott King through their leadership and community engagement efforts, particularly for women of color.

Sarah Bennett Holmes Luncheon 

Sarah Bennett Holmes, a distinguished former dean of women at UK, tirelessly championed the rights of women throughout her career. The annual Sarah Bennett Holmes Awards have been bestowed upon UK employees who have achieved professional and personal success while promoting the growth and well-being of all women at UK and beyond. 

  • 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, March 29 | Gatton Student Center, Grand Ballroom
  • Hosted by the UK Women’s Forum.
  • Contact for more information.

For questions about Women’s History Month events, contact González Jiménez at The campus community can further connect to the MLK Center by joining the weekly email listserv, visiting the MLK Center webpage or following them on Instagram @UK_MLKCenter.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.