UNT celebrates Women's History Month to support leadership development and empowerment

Friday, March 8, 2024

Women In Business members tabling at an eventDENTON (UNT), Texas — As Women’s History Month continues, the University of North Texas recognizes women's contributions while fostering an environment where every student feels empowered to pursue influential leadership roles.

Women’s History Month originated from the labor movement of the 19th and early 20th centuries, where advocacy against child labor, poor working conditions and for women's suffrage played a central role.

“Women’s History Month is significant as it officially recognizes women's contributions and leadership roles over time,” said Rachel Moran, UNT associate professor of modern U.S. and women’s history.

On March 8, 1908, women workers in the textile and garment industries staged a historic march through New York City's Lower East Side. This event marked the beginning of what would later become annually observed as International Women's Day, starting in 1910.

The 1960s and 70s saw its resurgence as a platform for feminist activism, resulting in the official recognition of International Women’s Day by the United Nations in 1975. This momentum led to the expansion of a weeklong celebration in California in 1978, aligning with the national recognition of Women's History Week. Then, in 1987, Women's History Month was officially established by the U.S. Congress.

"Such recognition is critical as it highlights the progress that's been made. Additionally, it's usually bipartisan, serving as a unifying force that brings people together,” Moran said.

By raising awareness of women's historical and societal contributions, UNT offers numerous leadership development opportunities through education, networking and participation in student organizations.

Tracy Dietz, associate dean for assessment and academic reporting in the G. Brint Ryan College of Business, teaches classes in the Department of Management to motivate students to strive for excellence in their academic and professional endeavors.

“Historically, women have encountered a glass ceiling that limited the opportunities for women to be active change agents and to assume leadership roles in major social institutions such as politics and the economy,” Dietz said. “While there has been change over time, statistics still show a significant difference between men and women in earnings and leadership roles.”

A Women In Business group meetingShe also serves as faculty advisor for the UNT student organization called Women in Business (WIB).

"WIB offers a foundation in understanding the cultural, political, social and economic changes happening during these transformative times,” Dietz said. “This foundation equips students to become effective leaders, providing them with the necessary tools to launch their own leadership careers even before they graduate."

WIB welcomes students of any gender and major, aiming to empower them with insights into career opportunities, challenges and expectations. The student organization cultivates success for women across sectors via networking with peers and industry professionals who serve as guest speakers.

“It’s not just about business and it’s not just about women,” Dietz said. “It’s about building a culture that promotes success and achievement for women in all economic sectors.”

Arlene Makia is a UNT senior studying computer science and president of Women of Gold. The student organization aims to uplift, support and unify women on campus. They strive to foster connections and empowerment by organizing events, forums and community service projects, creating a welcoming environment.

“I believe in the importance of women maximizing their potential and talents,” Makia said. “Women's History Month celebrates women breaking barriers across various fields and industries. It serves as a reminder of the strides we've taken and the doors opened by education. It's vital to recognize this ongoing journey and the achievements that challenge traditional norms.”


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