Women’s History Month began in 1981 after President Ronald Reagan issued a Presidential Proclamation proclaiming the week beginning on March 7, 1982, to be the first Women’s History Week.
The week was to recognize the vital role women have exhibited in American history.
According to proclamation documents, it stated “American women of every race, creed and ethnic background helped found and build our Nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways.”
Over the next five years, a proclamation for women’s history was issued that has resulted in Women’s History Month.
In honor of Women’s History Month, the Zeta Phi Beta sorority has dedicated an entire week of service, called Women’s Empowerment Week, to help celebrate the struggles and achievements women have faced.
“We’ve come a long way,” Lexington junior Kierra Muhammad, member and event organizer for Zeta Phi Beta said. “Now we are [some] of the most influential and powerful people around the world.”
Zeta Phi Beta has an annual week for celebrating sisterhood and traditionally lives by the standard of exemplifying phenomenal women. This year, the group wanted to go even further by hosting a week of events for students to learn about how to empower themselves and those around them.
“Doing something the whole week not only makes it a constant conversation, but we bring up different aspects of it,” Muhammad said. “Women and ladies and young girls, we can down ourselves real hard, but we are worth a lot and we mean a lot.”
Monday included a movie night and featured “Waiting to Exhale,” a film about five women and the struggles they face. The event included a discussion after the viewing. Other events include a professionalism forum on Tuesday, March 22, and a Women Are campaign on Wednesday.
A highlight event for the week will be a talk and discussion by Martha Sales, the director of WKU’s TRiO program. Sales will focus on discussing how to better oneself using your inner qualities.
“Power comes from within,” Sales said. “We spend time empowering others and neglect ourselves.”
Sales also hopes her talk will allow women to feel confident and communicate how they are feeling during her discussion.
“We are all products of our environment,” Sales said. “We have issues, concerns and problems that we don’t understand where they come from.”
Muhammad said out of the week of events, she is most excited to listen to Sales’ talk.
“I think that all women and even men need to hear what she has to say,” Muhammad said. “People have a hard time positively influencing themselves.”
Sales will be speaking on Thursday in Ransdell Hall room 1047 at 5:30 p.m., and she encourages women and men to attend.
“From a personal standpoint, it’s important to me because I have a daughter and a son,” Sales said. “We try to separate the two, but we are all interconnected. If women feel empowered, then men will too.”
Zeta Phi Beta plans to continue with an annual Women’s Empowerment Week and hopes it will strengthen the conversation across campus and the community.
“This is something that every girl and every man needs to hear because it’s different hearing it from your peers or someone you can relate to or look up to,” Muhammad said. “It could change their lives or make them realize something about themselves.”
Sales also thinks Women’s Empowerment Week will greatly increase the conversation that can help make a difference in the community.
“The more communication and dialogue, the stronger we will become as a campus community and a nation,” Sales said. “Sometimes making a difference is just showing up.”