Celebrating Women’s History Month 2024

In March we celebrate Women’s History Month by pausing, acknowledging, and celebrating the lives, work, and contributions of women in the world. Today in particular marks International Women’s Day. 

I encourage us all to reflect on this year’s theme: Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. According to The National Women's History Alliance, the theme “recognizes women throughout the country who understand that to achieve a positive future, we need to eliminate bias and discrimination entirely from our lives and institutions.”

National Research

Throughout history, women have advocated for equal rights, equal access, and equal respect. It is those voices that we celebrate this month. A 2023 national study found that over the last few years, there have been sizable gains in the amount of women in senior leadership positions. This major step in the right direction can be attributed to the many women who have fought for rights and fair treatment within the workplace. Former U.S. Secretary of State, the late Madeleine Albright confessed: “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” 

As we celebrate the progress that has been made in the U.S., we also recognize that there is still work to be done. According to the study, which surveyed women in corporate America, a persistent issue in the national workplace has been an underrepresentation of women of color in senior leadership. We in the United States must continue to work to address this disparity. As the first black woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress in 1968, Shirley Chisholm was a vocal advocate for women. She once advised: "If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair."

At Eastern University

Here at Eastern University, we have a large number of women leaders, including many women of color, who have significantly contributed to the overall success of the university and paved the path to our future by being advocates for women at work and in their lives. We are grateful to them and the many who have walked before them. In the spirit of this year’s theme, we recognize the positive work these wise, skilled, and passionate women are doing as they advocate in classrooms, meetings, boardrooms, lunch rooms, athletic fields, and all across our campus and the world.

Celebrating the unique voices and gifts of women and their contributions to our community at all levels is an affirmation of their centrality as image-bearers of God. The Apostle Paul reminds us: "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).

This month we pause together to celebrate not only the women of Eastern University, but all women within our community and across the world. Let us commit to creating a more inclusive and just place for all of God’s children.

Shalom! Shalom!

Randolph Walters, Psy.D, LPC, CCTP, CSAM
Special Assistant to the President for Diversity, Equity, and Belonging
Professor, Counseling Psychology Department