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The Ohio University Women's Center in Baker Center on March 1, 2023, in Athens, Ohio. (Pearl Spurlock)

Directors of the Women’s Center discuss importance of Women’s History Month

Women’s history month occurs every year throughout the month of March. This month serves as a celebration of monumental women in history and those who will follow in their footsteps as history and change makers. 

Ohio University’s Women’s Center is set to host a month full of events to celebrate and honor women of all walks of life. The center is headed by Chris Fowler, director, and Letitia Price, assistant director. 

Both women have recently entered into their roles in June and December of 2022 respectively and came into their positions bolstered with experience leaving them more than equipt to uplift the campus and communities of women. 

Price came to Athens from the United Kingdom in 2018. She first found herself at Ohio University through her doctoral program in the Patton College of Education.  

“Gender inequity was something that seemed to be a quite common experience across different international perspectives, and so as I was kind of going through education, and then through my career, it became illuminating to me that there were systemic and structural issues worldwide that needed addressing,” Price said. 

Fowler began working with the university in 2013 as an academic advisor, she then transitioned to the Office of Multicultural Student Success and Retention in 2019 before coming to the Women’s Center last year.

Her motivation to work to improve the college experience of women stems from the lack of support shown to women during her’s. 

“In my undergrad there was not a women’s center or a WGSS (women, gender, sexuality studies) program,” Fowler said. “I've witnessed issues related to sexism, harassment, pay inequality and things like that. I really want to make a change.”

Both women have quickly applied their skill sets to their new realm of work and have introduced a set of programming and events through collaboration, dialogue and purposeful action.

“At the Women's Center, we come together to create programs and events that help bring awareness and increase the understanding of issues impacting women, gender equity and justice at Ohio and beyond,” Fowler said. 

Both Price and Fowler recognize the importance of the intersection related to inequality and how more vulnerable demographics of women undergo intensified discrimination. These groups include women of color and those of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“One of my goals, in the center, is understanding how we can establish commonalities when it comes to gender equity, but being mindful that those commonalities are not homogenous and should be creating programs, initiatives and education that serve a really diverse population,” Price said. 

Much of the March programming is designated to uplift and strengthen the experiences of marginalized women on campus. 

Events such as Empower Her, Embracing Equity: Black Women In Academia Panel and Honoring the Legacy of Early Black Women Writers: A Faculty Roundtable are all directed at highlighting the influence of Black women on OU’s campus and around the world. 

The center will also be hosting several events with a wider scope, such as a trivia night on March 27. However, their work does not end with the month’s conclusion.

“We don't just look at women just this month, it’s a concerted effort throughout our lives and in the world,” Price said. 

Fowler and Price encourage the community to attend these events to gain perspective and community and to engage with the women’s center on the fourth floor of Baker University Center in room 403. 

“We just hope to recognize the important work that women have done and continue to do,” Fowler said.

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