By Megan Horst-Hatch
March isn’t just about St. Patrick’s Day or serves as the kickoff to March Madness. It’s also a time to reflect on opportunities for women. Whether it’s a museum exhibit, volunteer opportunities or online resources, the Chicagoland area abounds with ways to observe Women’s History Month in March. Learn and celebrate the contributions women have made to society with the following events in the Chicagoland area.
All the Write Women: A Cabaret Show to Salute Women’s History Month
40 E. Erie St.
Chicago, IL 60611
Price: $40 for museum members, $50 for general public
Hours: March 9, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
While the name Dorothy Fields may not ring a bell, the songwriter’s top hits might. Fields, who wrote such classics as “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “Big Spender” and “I’m in the Mood for Love,” became an inspiration to future female songwriters. Singers Hilary Ann Feldman, Beckie Menzie and Marianne Murphy Orland will perform some of Fields’ songs, as well as those by Susan Werner, Lynn Ahrens and other songwriters. The doors open at 5:30 p.m., and guests are allowed to explore the museum prior to the performance.
Frances Willard House Museum
1730 Chicago Ave.
Evanston, IL 60201
Price: $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 12 and under
Hours: March 17, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
If you’d like to travel back in time, if only for a few minutes, then consider visiting the Frances Willard House Museum in Evanston. Located just a few blocks west of Sheridan Road, the museum was built in 1865 and was the home of Frances Willard, an activist involved with numerous social movements. Willard’s home served as the headquarters of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, of which she was president. Visitors to the museum can also see how Willard contributed to other social causes, including women’s suffrage, education reform and prison reform. The Frances Willard House is open year-round on the first and third Sunday of every month, and is also open by appointment.
Girls in the Game
1501 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60607
If you have some available time, consider volunteering for Girls in the Game. The nonprofit organization provides programs for girls in the Chicagoland area to learn about fitness and sports, as well as leadership skills. Volunteers can participate with the organization as often as once per week or sign up for monthly or annual events and work in various capacities such as coaching, leading a fundraiser or helping to set up athletic events organized through Girls in the Game. Other volunteer opportunities include spending time as a tutor to provide after-school homework help. All volunteers must be 18 or over, must agree to a background check and need to be trained by Girls in the Game.
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
The University of Illinois at Chicago
800 S. Halsted St. (M/C 051)
Chicago, IL 60607
What’s Women’s History Month in Chicago without a visit to the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum? The museum is a resource for anyone interested in learning more about Addams, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Addams, a feminist and social activist, used Hull-House as a way to improve life for others. Hull-House would eventually have a daycare facility and provide English and citizenship classes for immigrants. Today, visitors to Hull-House can learn more about Addams, as well as the issues affecting society in the early 1900s.
Women’s History Resources
Chicago Public Library
400 S. State St.
Chicago, IL 60605
If you’re looking for a list of resources for celebrating Women’s History Month, then check out the Chicago Public Library’s website. With information literally at your fingertips, the website includes databases for finding people notable for their involvement with women’s rights, and can also assist users in finding biographies and information on topics that include women in education and women in Chicago’s history. The website also includes access to the library’s archival collection, which includes pictures of contributors to women’s rights, as well as to general interest and academic magazines and journals. The Chicago Public Library also hosts events throughout March at its branches. For a list of upcoming events, check out the website.
Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.