First National Women’s Conference to Be Reinvented at Bay Path

LONGMEADOW — On Wednesday, March 8, from 2 to 5 p.m., Bay Path University, in partnership with the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, will hold a capsulated re-enactment of the historic 1977 First National Women’s Conference, called the On the Move Forum 2017, in the Blake Student Commons. This event is free and open to the public. March 8 is also the United Nations International Women’s Day.

“This partnership highlights the critical need to support the work of higher-education institutions within the community,” said Ellen Moorhouse, Women’s Fund program officer. “By offering such exciting programming around International Women’s Day, we acknowledge our history while building our capacity to work together.”

The On the Move Forum was developed by Bay Path Professor Janine Fondon along with Diana Mara Henry, the official photographer for the 1977 First National Women’s Conference. Henry will be the keynote speaker at the forum. She began her career in photojournalism at Radcliffe, as photo editor of the Harvard Crimson from 1967 to 1969. Her photographs are currently in the collections of the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Archives, the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, and the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst.

In 1977, more than 20,000 people gathered in Houston for the historic women’s conference, as well as to celebrate International Women;s Year. This conference was the first and only national women’s conference to be sponsored by the federal government. The primary job of the conference was to formulate and pass a national plan of action, based on recommendations from state meetings held across the U.S.

The 2017 On the Move Forum will mirror the format and topics from 40 years ago, such as education, business and finance, and health and wellness. As in 1977, a key component of the forum will have the participants and delegates engaging in discussion about how to advance women in the workplace and communities.

“We look forward to reinventing the conference with a renewed relevance in today’s world, thus attracting all generations and communities,” Fondon said.

As space is limited, attendees must register by clicking here. This event is sponsored in part by NAMIC New England and ESPN. For additional details, visit www.onthemoveforum.com.

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