In 2024, Women’s History Month celebrates the theme Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The theme recognizes women who speak up and are leading change in their fields. As you plan programming for your communities and teams throughout the month of March 2024 and on International Women’s Day (March 8), let yourself be inspired by the speakers on our roster who are fighting for equity and fairness.
If you are looking for a headliner for your Women’s History Month event, living legend Jane Fonda is sure to inspire audiences. The actress, activist, and author looks back on an exciting and controversial life of advocacy and fighting for social change. Another headliner whose story of resilience and perseverance continues to amaze is Cheryl Strayed. Strayed is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Wild—based on her 1,000-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail—which was later released as an Academy Award–nominated motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon.
ADVOCATING FOR ACCESS
Discrimination runs through many institutions and sectors. These women fight for fair access in the fields of medicine and STEM education. Dr. Michele Harper is an emergency room physician and author of the New York Times bestseller The Beauty in Breaking. In her personal and moving lectures, Dr. Harper speaks about the importance of dismantling bigotry in the medical profession on an individual and structural level. Another woman fighting for diversity and equal access in medicine is Dr. Uché Blackstock, one of the country’s leading health equity advocates. A Harvard-trained emergency physician with more than 17 years of experience, Dr. Blackstock talks to organizations across the country about the deep inequities that still exist in the U.S. healthcare system and how to address them. And an inspiring speaker who has broken the glass ceiling in STEM is Dr. Aomawa Shields. An influential astrobiologist and astronomer, Dr. Shields is one of the few Black women in a predominantly white male field and is the 126th Black woman to have ever received PhDs in physics and astronomy. And diving deeper into why women have been overlooked in science and research is Cat Bohannon. Bohannon is a researcher with a Ph.D. from Columbia University in the evolution of narrative and cognition and the author of the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller Eve. In her eye-opening talks, Bohannon speaks about why modern medicine, neurobiology, evolutionary biology, and feminism are all undermined when we focus primarily on the male body.
GIVING A VOICE TO MINORITIES
An important part of Women’s History Month is amplifying the stories of those whose voices are often not heard. One of today’s foremost storytellers and chroniclers of untold stories is Isabel Wilkerson, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste. Wilkerson empowers audiences to be courageous citizens and address unacknowledged inequalities in American society. Another powerful speaker bridging silences is communications coach Elaine Lin Hering. Hering teaches audiences how to master difficult conversations and turn any dialogue into a learning experience. Fighting the silent threat of unconscious bias is Dr. Jennifer L. Eberhardt. A social psychologist at Stanford University, Dr. Eberhardt is one of the world’s leading experts on unconscious racial bias, who offers audiences the language and courage we need to face one of the biggest and most troubling issues of our time. She exposes racial bias at all levels of society—in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, and criminal justice system. Thankfully she also offers us tools to address it. And addressing the importance of voice and representation for Black girls is Leila Mottley. Mottley is the author of the critically acclaimed Nightcrawling, an Oprah’s Book Club pick. In personal lectures, Mottley discusses the importance of representation and the need to render the stories of young women and girls with the nuance, complexity, and joy they deserve.
MAKING THE WORLD MORE INCLUSIVE
How inclusive is your organization really? Meet the passionate speakers and activists fighting for inclusion and allyship. Lauren Smith Brody is the founder of The Fifth Trimester movement and author of the book by the same name. Brody helps organizations design the future of work for caregiving employees, from new parents to those caring for their own aging parents. Joining the drive for more equitable and empowering workplaces is Eve Rodsky. A Harvard-educated lawyer with years of organizational development experience, Rodsky shows organizations across all industries why a company culture based on gender equality helps attract and retain top talent. Looking at how companies can design physical spaces that are more accessible and welcoming is Sara Hendren. Hendren is a design researcher and artist who helps organizations evaluate their accessibility work and bridge the gap between the built world around us and our actual physical abilities. Advocating for accessibility for the disabled community is Emily Ladau, an internationally celebrated disability rights activist and author of Demystifying Disability. She empowers audiences to practice informed and thoughtful allyship, recognize ableism, speak respectfully, and break patterns of discrimination toward disabled people. Speaking on Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI), disability culture, and etiquette also is Lachi, a recording artist and award-winning cultural activist. The host of PBS segment Renegades, Lachi advocates to amplify Disability Culture and intersectional pride in the music industry and beyond.