By Jonah Grinkewitz

Old Dominion University will celebrate Women’s History Month this March by highlighting women who advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion. The theme, led by ODU’s Women’s & Gender Equity Center, will be incorporated into programming that includes talks by women leaders and writers, a Barbie-themed festival, and a pop-up market to promote transgender visibility.

To kick off the month on March 1, ODU’s College of Arts and Letters Department of Communication and Theatre Arts and the Women’s & Gender Equity Center will host an exhibition that celebrates the beauty and diversity of Black hair at 5:30 p.m. at the Goode Theatre. “My Crown is Powerful” will feature photos of ODU students, faculty and staff that showcase the creative ways Black hair can be styled to represent identity and culture.

Students can dress as their favorite Barbie (or Ken) for the “Barbie Blow Out” festival at 5:30 p.m. March 11 in the Webb Center North Café. The event will feature dancing, food, photo booths and more.

Serving as the keynote speaker for the month, American culture writer Evette Dionne will give a talk at 5:30 p.m. March 19 at the University Theatre. Dionne, who has written about the intersections of race, gender and size for publications including the New York Times, Time magazine and Cosmopolitan, will discuss the history of Black women’s civic engagement in the United States. The event is hosted by ODU’s Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs and will include a Q&A after the talk.

Another event will feature two former student athletes who formed careers in the professional sports industry.

The “RennHERssance Listening Lab” at 5 p.m. March 20 in Chartway Arena’s Big Blue Room will feature Lori Robinson, player engagement manager for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, and Kayla Cason, owner of DRIP Athletic Club in Virginia Beach. The former student athletes will share how they carved a path for themselves in the sports industry.

Closing out the month is “Femme Fest” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 26 in the North Café and lobby of Webb Center. In celebration of International Transgender Day of Visibility, the University will host a pop-up market featuring more than 15 vendors from the ODU community whose identities include transgender, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming.

Other events include:

  • March 12 — International Women’s Day: “Girl on FI-HER” Trivia, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Mane Webb Front Desk. The Women’s & Gender Equity Center will host a trivia competition on women’s history with prizes and custom T-shirt giveaways.
  • March 13 — “Misogynoir and the Intersections of Black Womanhood,” 6-7:30 p.m., Darden Multipurpose Room 1106, Education Building. Panel discussion on the unique challenges Black women face in health, education and the workplace.
  • March 21 — “50 Shades of Women EquiTea,” 12-2 p.m., Executive Dining Room 1310, Webb Center. Open forum for female students to share their experiences and perspectives on topics including womanism, feminism and social and cultural identity. Food and beverages will be provided.