LONGMEADOW — In honor of Women’s History Month in March and International Women’s Day on March 8, Bay Path University, Springfield Museums, and UnityFirst will present the fifth annual On the Move Forum to Advance Women on Monday, March 8 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
This year’s theme, “Women in Leadership: This Is What Change Looks Like — Past, Present, and Future,” offers virtual attendees an intergenerational, cross-cultural, gender-inclusive, and history-infused conversation focused on women. Now in its fifth year, the event has engaged more than 1,000 women in community conversations and presentations on women’s history, empowerment, and advancement.
This year’s event aligns with the priority theme of the 65th session of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women, “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.” According to Catalyst, in 2020, women of color represented only 18% of entry-level positions, and few advanced to leadership positions. While white women held almost one-third (32.8%) of total management positions in the U.S. in 2020, Asian women (2.2%), black women (4.1%), and Hispanic women (4.5%) held a much smaller share.
The 2021 On the Move Forum will feature an opening perspective by Ariana Curtis, director of Content: Race, Community, and Our Shared Future: Reckoning with Our Racial Past at the Smithsonian Institution. The keynote presentation will be given by On the Move’s inaugural scholar, Laura Lovett, associate professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh and author of With Her Fist Raised: Dorothy Pitman Hughes and the Transformative Power of Black Activism. Her book is the first biography about Pitman Hughes, a trailblazing black feminist activist whose work made children, race, and welfare rights central to the 1970s women’s movement.
Lovett is currently co-editing a collection of essays on African-American women leaders who helped frame the U.S. answer to the call by the United Nations to identify a nationwide agenda for International Women’s Year. That book — It’s Our Movement Now: Black Women’s Politics and the 1977 National Women’s Conference — was co-edited by Kelly Giles, a sociology professor at UMass, and Rachel Daniel of Massasoit Community College, and features a chapter by On the Move founder Janine Fondon, chair of Undergraduate Communications and assistant professor at Bay Path University.
“As a college dedicated to the advancement of women, On the Move is a signature event that brings the community together to discover and learn about the women who have and are paving the way for all women,” said Sandra Doran, president of Bay Path University. “In addition, the event creates an opportunity to have safe, meaningful conversations about change, allowing all voices to be heard and all individuals to feel they belong.”
Kay Simpson, president and CEO of Springfield Museums, added that “the Museums, historically known as the People’s College, are proud to be a part of the conversation orchestrated by the On the Move Forum. As a gathering place for curious people, the Museums strongly support collaborative efforts to help us all engage through authentic educational and social experiences that foster connection.”
This event is free and open to the public and is hosted in collaboration with a range of organizations, including Springfield Museums, Women Innovators and Trailblazers, the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, Girls Inc. of the Valley, Arise for Social Justice, the African American Female Professors Assoc., NAMIC New England, Creative Futures, LLC, and others.
Registration is required. To register, visit baypath.edu/onthemove.