The Kentucky Museum curated and hosted Herstory, an event to empower girls grades 1-8, on Feb. 8 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event was co-sponsored by WKU’s Gender and Women’s Studies Department.
“It’s great to see the girls be so excited and engaged,” professor E. Dawn Hall said. “And the parents are great. There’s just so much love here today.”
WKU displayed 18 of its departments at the event, all of whom provided hands-on activities for the girls. The Gender and Women’s Studies Department gave out journals and journal prompts for girls to respond to.
“They’re all so timid,” Hall said. “There is that gender difference there that girls are more timid, but they’re able to open up here. That’s what we are doing with the journals.”
Among the 18 departmental booths, Herstory provided events to the girls so that they could get involved with the women in their community.
There was a costume contest, a performance by the Girl Scouts, a photobooth and an autograph signing. The autograph signing featured 7 prominent women in the community that serve as idols for little girls.
Among the featured women was Patti Minter, the first female from Warren County to become a Kentucky State Representative.
“It’s so special to get to sit here and show little girls that we’re just like any other woman,” Minter said. “It feels good to know that they see that there are women fighting for a just society for them.”
The autograph signing also featured professional artist Alice Gatewood Waddell, Kentucky State Trooper Courtney Milam, Kentucky circuit court judge Catherine Rice Holder — the only female on the court — among others.
Although the event was held for girls grades 1-8, Herstory was ultimately a community event that brought females of all ages together.
“We believe in girl empowerment,” Spurlock said. “We live in a patriarchy, and this event has shown the need in the community for older women to feed those passions of the little girls.”
The event was held together by Kentucky Museum staff, most of whom are WKU students that work as docents at the museum.
“It’s kind of an all-hands on deck type event,” Senior Sarah Olive said. “I usually just give tours and answer questions, but today I get to run the photobooth and watch girls get excited to see people who look like them doing important jobs. Their eyes just light up.”
Junior Alisha Corarm, who helped set up and host the event, noticed that the majority of the event’s turnout was girls between 6 and 9 years old.
“These young girls are getting interested,” Corarm said. “The older women get to talk to the girls about their dreams.”
The event, which was held to empower girls in the community, also empowered the older women in the community.
“I get to sit here and talk to other females in my field,” Minter said, sitting beside Judge Holder. “We get to talk to other strong women about how to make the community better for the families.”
Department heads, role models, and students all came together to teach the youth of the community about empowerment, and they ended up learning from each other as well.
“We don’t see ourselves on TV,” Senior History major Anna Volk said. “Here, we have real women in the community to look up to and inspire us.”
Herstory is just a piece of WKU’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote, Journey to the Vote. Events will continue until August 2020.
“They’re so excited to take pictures with Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Harriet Tubman,” Olive said. “These girls know their history.”