Advocating for women this Women’s History and Empowerment Month

March 1, 2024

Dear campus community,

Every March, we celebrate Women’s History and Empowerment Month, both honoring the contributions of all who experience life through the lens of "woman" in body, spirit, and identity (past, present, future, and fluid) as well as empowering women and reducing barriers to their advancement. This year’s national theme, Women Who Advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, recognizes the need to eliminate bias and discrimination given legacies of exclusion and ongoing patterns of inequity and harm that women, especially those with multiple marginalized identities, continue to experience. 

Rights at Risk

In June 2022, Roe v. Wade, which protected the right to have an abortion for almost 50 years, was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Reproductive rights have been eroding ever since. Following the decision, 14 states have made abortion illegal and many others have placed severe restrictions. A recent Alabama court ruling put in vitro fertilization at risk in the state. For years, transgender and nonbinary people have faced increased violence and discrimination; restrictions on gender-affirming care; limited access to schools, sports, and restrooms; and bans on inclusive classroom instruction and books. At Berkeley, we remain steadfast in our support of reproductive healthcare, gender-affirming healthcare, improving restroom access and lactation spaces, and encouraging our campus community to broaden their understanding of issues through an intersectional lens. Putting in the work to make our campus and surrounding community more equitable can and does benefit all of us.

Recognize and Support University Trailblazers

Many trailblazing women are advancing work in their respective fields at Berkeley and beyond. The award-winning research conducted by our Gender and Women's Studies Research faculty has played a formative role in shaping studies of gender and sexuality worldwide. Learn more about the women at Berkeley (past and present) who are advancing our mission of teaching, research, and public service. You can help elevate women by recommending women we can add to our Women’s History and Empowerment Month website and submitting nominations to the RISE! Award. The RISE! Women Leader Awards highlight the exceptional endeavors and efforts of women in the UC Berkeley and local communityNominations for 2024 are open until March 31, and women leaders (students, faculty, staff, post-docs, alumni, and non-UC Berkeley community members) are eligible. Together, we can take action to make sure all women, especially women from historically marginalized communities, have the opportunity to succeed in leadership positions.  

Expanding Campus Resources

This year, we expect a new set of Title IX regulations (which protect against discrimination based on sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity, in education programs) aimed to bolster trans students' rights as well as enhance the support for pregnant and parenting students and employees. We want to make sure that all students and employees understand that these protections cover pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, and/or recovery. There is also a new UC system-wide Anti-Discrimination Policy to ensure equitable and inclusive education and employment environments for members of all protected identities. For more information about your rights, options, and resources, connect with the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD) 

Explore and Learn More

On March 1, the Graduate Women’s Project, Gender Equity Resource Center, and Multicultural Community Center will host a Grad Women’s Healing Circle; also on March 1 Berkeley Law will hold an all-day symposium titled Equality Besieged: A Critical Analysis of Supreme Court Jurisprudence; on March 5, the School of Information and CITRIS will be hosting the Women in Data Science, Berkeley (WiDS) conference and the W*HEM Tribute Market will be held on Lower Sproul; on March 7 at 4pm Prof. Emerita Catherine Gallagher will be giving a talk on "Pivot Point 1968-72: How Women Faculty Rebounded from Near Extinction" at the Women's Faculty Club, reception to follow; on March 7, the Cal Women’s Network will be holding an International Women’s Day Eve happy hour and book swap; on March 9, the Lawrence Hall of Science will be celebrating women and girls in science, technology, engineering, and math for International Women’s Day; on March 16 attend the 39th Annual Empowering Womxn of Color Conference (EWOCC) and on March 22-24, NorCal T-Camp will host a retreat in Santa Cruz for trans and nonbinary students. Visit our Women’s History and Empowerment Month website to learn more about this month’s events. 

Get Involved

Everyone can take action in their day-to-day life. Make a difference in your department, classroom, student group, or workplace by interrupting sexist language, mentoring/sponsoring a colleague or student, and advocating for equitable pay and inclusive policies and recruiting practices.  

We hope you will join us in learning about and advocating for the women of our past, present, and future, and collaborating to advance women's rights, across the nation and beyond. 

In community,

Stephen C. Sutton
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs 

Dania Matos
Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion 

christine (cici) ambrosio 
Director of Women’s Resources, Gender Equity Resource Center 

Victoria Plaut
Vice Provost for the Faculty 

Eugene Whitlock 
Chief People and Culture Officer 

To help create an environment that lives up to our Principles of Community, we will send regular messages to acknowledge various heritage months and holidays. While we won't include every month or holiday, we will make an effort to ensure members of our community feel represented. Additionally, will often post articles highlighting people, programs, and research that align with these heritage months and holidays. 

This message was sent to all staff, faculty, and students.

If you are a manager who supervises UC Berkeley employees without email access, please circulate this information to all.