Women’s History Month activities coming to a close, two events left for Tech students

Two opportunities remain for Tech students to explore Women’s History month.Two Center Stage productions are scheduled later this month. One event will spotlight a survivor of the brutal Rwandan genocide, who hid in a bathroom for 91 days with seven other women. The other presentation will showcase a popular women’s rights author known for her grit and frankness.

“The focus this year on various types of activism not only reflects some aspects of history, but also contemporary interests and the diversity of academic fields and ways of communicating in our society,” said Gretta Stanger, Women’s Center director.

The Women’s Center, in collaboration with the National Women’s History Project and other campus organizations, recognizes this year’s theme, “Writing Women back into history.” This year marks the 30th anniversary of Women’s History Month.

Immaculee Illibagiza will share her story of Rwandan genocide survival at 7 p.m., March 16 in Derryberry Auditorium. In 1994, 22-year-old Illibagiza hid in a bathroom with seven other women as killers hunted them with machetes. For three months, the women listened in horror as thousands of people were murdered. During this time, Illibagiza clung to her faith and found strength through constant prayer.

Illibagiza is the author of various books and speeches depicting her story as well as sharing her faith and strength. She has appeared on several television programs including “60 Minutes.”

Jessica Valenti, founder and executive editor of Feministing.com and a young but seasoned women’s rights activist, will present “Feminism: Alive and Well?” at 7 p.m., March 23 in Derryberry Auditorium.

Valenti offers a fresh take on women’s issues and presents a new vision of feminism as she discredits common myths and stereotypes. Her focus is the future, and her wit and sense of humor endear her to younger audiences.

“Valenti draws attention to things that are in the media and pop culture that we know are there but don’t always stop to think about,” Stanger said. “Her tone is accessible, and we felt that students could relate to what she has to say.”

Feministing.com is an online community and blog that encourages young women to speak up for themselves and take a stand on today’s issues.

“She takes a realistic and practical view of feminism,” Stanger said. “While acknowledging the negativity that seems to surround current notions of feminism, Valenti challenges us to rethink some of our ideas about the women’s rights movement and move forward.”

Valenti has a Master’s degree in Women’s and Gender Studies, national and international experience in women’s activist movements and is the author of “Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to why Feminism Matters,” “He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut…and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know,” “The Purity Myth,” and is also co-editor of the feminist anthology “Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape.”

All Center Stage events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Lalani at Dlalani@tntech.edu. For more information about Women’s History Month, visit www.NWHP.org.