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10 Persistent Ways To Celebrate Women’s History Month In Chicago

By Charli Renken

10 Persistent Ways To Celebrate Women’s History Month In Chicago

Chicago’s history is made up of strong, persistent women.

March is Women’s History Month where we celebrate the achievements of women socially, economically, culturally, and politically. It also marks an official call to action to champion gender equity. From Jane Addams to Ida B Wells, Bessie Coleman to Michelle Obama, Katharine McCormick to Sandra Cisneros; Chicago’s history is made up of powerful women who persisted. We’ve put together a list of events and things to do during March to celebrate Women’s History Month.

 

1. Check out Womanish

Womanish is a feminist exhibit like no other just in time for Women’s History Month. The new exhibit will launch March 24 and features 10 fun, Instagrammable rooms that each speaks to a different aspect of being a woman. Stop by the “SELFISH” room for a little self-care, jump into the tampon pool in “CONSUMER-ISH” to learn about the “pink tax” and how gender and consumerism intersect, then head over to “PARTY-ISH” to dance your heart out. There will also be a number of events, small business highlights, and other feminist programming all culminating in an intersectional, trans-inclusive space to “find your ISH.” More information.

 

2. Visit the Apsáalooke Women and Warriors exhibit at The Field Museum

Apsaalooke war shields in the Apsaalooke Women and Warriors exhibit at the Field Museum. Photo by Charli Renken

Apsáalooke Women and Warriors (pronounced “Ahp-SAH-luh-guh”) is the Field Museum’s first large-scale exhibition curated by a Native American scholar. The new exhibit explores the history, values, and beliefs of the matriarchal Apsáalooke (sometimes referred to as Crow) community and features a mix of traditional objects and contemporary art. One of the largest features of the exhibit is never-before-seen Apsáalooke war shields from the museum’s collect made by warriors and kept by Apsáalooke women. The new exhibit opens March 13 and is the first step in an initiative to renovate the museum’s Native Northern America hall and allow Native communities to tell their own stories in museums.  More information.

 

3. Visit the Notorious RGB Exhibit at the Illinois Holocaust Museum

Notorious RBG
Courtesy of the Illinois Holocaust Museum

The Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie has a new exhibitionNotorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburga detailed showcase of Justice Ginsburg’s life, career, and internet phenomenon. The interactive exhibit hopes not only to celebrate the groundbreaking work of RBG, but educate people about sexism, civic engagement, prejudice, and gender equity.

The exhibition tells Justice Ginsburg’s story through the use of gallery interactives, listening stations, archival photographs and documents, historical artifacts, and contemporary art. Museum visitors will be able to explore her life and career at a whole new level of depth in the new exhibit. You’ll be able to walk through 3D recreations of her childhood Brooklyn apartment, the kitchen in RBG and husband Marty’s home, and even dress up as a Justice and sit on a Supreme Court bench. More information.

 

4. Visit the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum

Jane Addams was an IL activist who co-founded the world-famous Hull-House social settlement on Chicago’s Near West Side in 1889. The Hull-House– now a museum– was not only Addam’s private home, it was also a place where immigrants and other marginalized communities gathered to learn, eat, and create community. The museum serves as a memorial to Addams, the first American woman to receive a Nobel Peace prize. It’s programs continue Addam’s legacy of promoting education, social engagement, and community organizing. More information. 

5. See the Diamond Comedy Hour at Laugh Factory

Photo courtesy of Fever.

While comedy has long been a male-dominated field, female and gender non-conforming comics have taken the scene by storm with stars like Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Ali Wong, and Cameron Esposito. Diamond Comedy Hour is a monthly standup lineup that showcases premier female and GNC comedians. Enjoy an evening of Chicago’s wittiest femmes, bubbly beverages, and sidesplitting laughter at the world-famous Laugh Factory. More information.

 

6. Support Women-Owned Businesses

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One of the best ways to celebrate women’s history is to invest in women’s future. Supporting women-owned businesses is important because, according to Bossy Chicago, “women control over 80% of consumer spending in the United States. But women-owned businesses only make 4% of our country’s business revenue.” Isn’t that messed up? Put your money where your mouth is by shopping at women-owned businesses. Here are a few of our favorites, but you can find more on Bossy Chicago’s online directory.

Women and Children’s First, Bookstore, 5233 N Clark St, Chicago, IL
Cultivate Urban Rainforest, Plant shop, 704 Main St, Evanston, IL
Big Chicks, Bar, 5024 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL
Choc Choc Cosmetic, Korean cosmetics, 614 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL
Bark N’ Bites, Pet boutique, 702 W 35th St, Chicago, IL
Brewja Co, Art, Coffee, Pop-Up Markets
Volumes Bookcafe, Bookstore and Cafe, 1474 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL

 

7. Learn about the history of the vibrator at In The Next Room (or The Vibrator Play), March 9 – April 5

In the Next Room (Or the Vibrator Play) Photo courtesy of Idle Muse Theatre Company

When her husband creates a new invention designed to treat “female hysteria,” Catherine Givings has a few discoveries of her own to contend with. She goes on a journey of introspection, sexuality, and human connection while she contemplates what’s going on in “the next room” of her husband’s doctor’s office. “It’s important for me to tell stories that show the history and complexities of women. Stories that often show how lonely being a woman can be,” said Director Morgan Manasa. “There’s so much about being a woman that isn’t talked about, so many experiences we don’t think we can or should share. But we can. And we should.” More information. 

8. Learn about women making Herstory at The Blackstone

In honor of Women’s History Month, The Blackstone hotel will host a number of events showcasing present-day women leaders in Chicago. Check out and RSVP for free to the following events on the hotel’s Facebook page.

  • Tuesday, March 3, 2020, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Wed, March 11, 6-8 p.m.
    • Making Herstory: Ladies & Libations with KOVAL Distillery and Journalist Maggie Hennessy
  • Thursday, March 19, 2020, 6-8 p.m.
    • Making Herstory: Women in the Arts
  • Thursday, March 26, 2020, 5:30-7 p.m.
    • Making Herstory: Words of Wisdom with Author Theresa Goodrich

 

9. Attend a Dykes with Drills workshop

@dykeswithdrills

The construction industry can be really exclusive of women and the LGBTQ+ community. While people of all backgrounds enjoy making things with their hands, it can be an intimidating hobby to pick up when the community behind it has a history of patronising newbies. That’s where Dykes with Drills comes in, a non-profit that’s using power tools to empower people of all genders and sexualities.

Dykes with Drills’ mission is to create equity for women, non-binary, and transgender people in the construction industry. DwD runs a number of adultcommunity, and youth programming, using power tools not only to build physical things, but also leadership, confidence, and independence. You don’t have to be Butch or identify as a dyke to attend their classes. DwD is a judgement-free learning environment for people of all backgrounds regardless of gender, race, sexuality, age, or skill level. More information.

 

10. See Strip Joker on March 14 at Mary’s Attic

Strip Joker is a monthly comedy show that is exactly what it sounds like; stand-up comedians tell jokes about nudity while getting nude themselves. This unique burlesque show combines intersectional, body-positive feminism with some of Chicago’s best stand-up comedians. Each show is themed with March’s theme being a “Kiss Me, I’m Queer” St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Strip Joker also partners with local organizations to raise awareness and funds for important work in the community. More information.

Feature photo by lucia on Unsplash