Celebrated annually during the month of March, Women’s History Month honors the struggles and celebrates the achievements of women in the United States. While there are many community and national events recognizing the month, one group of women-focused student organizations at Case Western Reserve University—collectively known as the Women’s Coalition—is focused on helping campus celebrate, reflect on and learn about what it means to be a woman.
Founded in 2020 by then-first-year student Alexis Bell, the Women’s Coalition was initially created to provide a shared space on campus for groups with similar missions, cross-promote events and programming, and make it easier for students to find organizations that align with their interests.
“I thought that it would be useful to have an organized space for these similar groups to meet and share ideas about events,” said Bell, a fourth-year neuroscience major. “And for the general campus community of women, it’s kind of one space where we all live, so if people are looking for an opportunity, it’s curated in one place and we can help them find it.”
After partnering with the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women and recruiting two initial organizations, the Coalition has grown to include 10 member organizations who bring diverse voices, knowledge and events to the table.
“I think the coalition really allows for a lot of different perspectives on what it means to be a woman,” said Jameia Tyler, fourth-year communications sciences and psychology major, and president of The Sisterhood—a member of the Women’s Coalition since 2022. “The feminist movement can be very whitewashed, and that means we tend to only get one perspective that is missing ideas from women with different ethnic backgrounds or gender identities. Being a part of the coalition allows us to insert our voice within that space.”
Another element that has continued to evolve since 2020 is the coalition’s signature event series, Women’s Week—a week of events and activities hosted by the member organizations in honor of Women’s History Month each year in March. In just three years, the celebration has grown from a small virtual event to nine events throughout the week, open to the entire campus community.
“Women’s Week is our little miniature campus version of Women’s History Month—a way for us to celebrate being women and talk about issues that are important to us,” said Gabby Fabiano, second-year biochemistry major and President of the Women’s Coalition. “For this year’s theme we decided to focus on what it means to be a woman—the good and the bad. There’s a self defense workshop, a trans women visibility event, a menstrual product packing party and lots of other events covering topics that are important to women.”
Member organizations are encouraged to plan Women’s Week events that align with their group’s mission or resonate with their members, meaning there’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking to learn, give back or just have fun.
Amanda Martinez Moreno, fourth-year English and biology major and coalition representative from Sigma Lambda Gamma, has been working with the sorority to plan a breast cancer awareness panel in partnership with the American Cancer Society—one of their philanthropic missions.
“We felt that it was important to bring in researchers that were on the ground doing this, and also just talk about their experience and how people can get into research,” said Martinez Moreno. “Our hope for Women’s Week is that people can learn more about this important issue for women, but also learn about all our organizations, and just celebrate Women’s History month with all of us!”
The schedule of events is as follows:
Monday, March 20
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Women-owned small business event with raffle prizes, catering from women-owned businesses, and other activities. Hosted by the Feminist Collective in the Thwing Center atrium.
7 to 8 p.m.: Guest speaker Pooja Khatija will discuss being a woman in industry, negotiating salaries and standing up for yourself in the workplace. Hosted by the Association for Computing Machinery Women’s student chapter in the Mather Center (Tinkham Veale University Center, Suite 248).
Tuesday, March 21
5:30 to 7 p.m.: Shining a Light on Breast Cancer. Hosted by Sigma Lambda Gamma and the American Cancer Society in the Thwing Center ballroom.
7 to 8 p.m.: Menstrual Product Packing Party. Hosted by PERIOD at the Mather Center.
Wednesday, March 22
6 to 7 p.m.: Think Forum with Anita Hill and the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women’s 20th Anniversary kick-off. Sponsored by the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women. Tickets are required.
Thursday, March 23
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Israeli and Jewish Women in STEM. Hosted by Hillel Women in STEM at the Cleveland Hillel Foundation.
Friday, March 24
2 to 6 p.m.: Trans Visibility Community Art. Hosted by Planned Parenthood at CWRU in the Tinkham Veale University Center.
3:30 to 4:30: Celebrating Women in the Music Industry. Hosted by the Women’s Network in Thwing Center, Room 101.
6 to 8 p.m.: Self-defense workshop. Hosted by The Sisterhood and Public Safety in the Mather Center.
Organizations who are interested in joining the Women’s Coalition are encouraged to reach out to Gabby Fabiano at firstname.lastname@example.org.