15 ways to celebrate Women’s History Month in NYC

March 4, 2020

What better place to celebrate women than in New York? The state hosted the country’s first women’s rights convention in 1848, Union Square held the first large-scale suffrage parade in 1908, and New Yorkers came up with the idea to honor women for one month every year. This Women’s History Month, which marks the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, honor the trailblazing New Yorkers who forged the paths for feminists today with lectures, art exhibits, and bites from women-owned vendors. Ahead, find our favorite events, from a Wikipedia edit-a-thon at the Museum of Modern Art to a trolley tour of Woodlawn Cemetery.

2019 Art+ Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at the Museum of Modern Art; Photo by Manuel Molina Martagon on Wikimedia

1. Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at the Museum of Modern Art
March 14

The world’s most popular reference website has a gender problem. Not only are there major gaps in coverage of women and women artists across Wikipedia’s 40 million-plus articles, but fewer than 25 percent of all editors in the United States identify as female. To address these absences, the nonprofit Art+Feminism returns this month with its seventh annual edit-a-thon, an all-day event aimed at adding and updating articles related to gender, art, and feminism.

The Museum of Modern Art will host the edit-a-thon on March 14, which includes an introduction to Wikipedia, communal editing sessions, and a panel discussion on this year’s theme, Art and Activism. Free childcare will be offered between noon and 5 p.m., with complimentary coffee and lunch available. Register for the free event here, and don’t forget to bring a laptop and charger.

2. Two Elizas in Old New York: Lecture with Katharine Manthrone at Morris-Jumel Mansion
March 12

The Morris-Jumel Mansion is hosting a free lecture on two 19th-century Elizas: Eliza Pratt Greatorex and Eliza Jumel. The former, an artist who became only the second woman to be elected an associate at the National Academy of Design, created illustrations of many of the city’s architectural gems, including the Mansion, and the latter, a woman born into poverty to later became one of the city’s wealthiest. Led by Katherine Manthrone, a professor of Art History at the Graduate Center and author of Restless Enterprise: The Art and Life of Eliza Pratt Greatorex, the lecture explores the connection between the two women as well as what New York was like pre and post-Civil War.

Photo courtesy of the Woodlawn Cemetery Conservancy

3. Women’s History Month Trolley and Tour at Woodlawn Cemetery
March 29

Learn about the trailblazing women of New York’s past with a historic tour from the Woodlawn Cemetery. On March 29, take a trolley ride and visit the gravesites of history makers like suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, the “Queen of Salsa” Celia Cruz, America’s richest self-made women Madam C.J. Walker, investigative reporter Nellie Bly, Olympic Gold Medalist Gertrude Ederle, and more. Participants should meet at the Jerome Avenue and Bainbridge Avenue gate at 1:45 p.m. The two-hour tour costs $20 for members and $25 for non-members.

4. Renegade Women in Hollywood: A Century of Pioneers Onscreen and Behind the Scenes and From Respectability to Empowerment: Women’s Prison Reform since 1845
March 11, March 20

Join film critic and author Elizabeth Weitzman at the New-York Historical Society’s Center for Women’s History for a discussion on pioneering women in Hollywood. Weitzman will talk about her new book Renegade Women in Film and TV, which includes interviews and biographies of leading women in cinema, like Anna May Wong, Elaine May, Ida Lupino, and others. Tickets to the March 11 event cost $15 for nonmembers.

The Society is also hosting a lecture focused on women in the criminal justice system. “From Respectability to Empowerment: Women’s Prison Reform since 1845” features Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison in conversation with historians Dr. Hilizabeth Hinton of Harvard University and Michelle Daniel Jones, of New York University. Learn about the “evolution of activism around gender, race, and incarceration” during the event on March 20, which costs $15 for nonmembers.

Photo courtesy of Museum Hack

5. Badass Bitches Tour at the Met

Hack the patriarchy this women’s history month with a feminist-focused tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Museum Hack, a group that gives off-beat museum tours, offers a two-hour dive into art created by women at the Met, as well as the female artists left out of the museum. “The future is female, and guess what: the past was hella female too,” reads the “Badass Bitches” tour description. Tickets cost $69.

Image by artist Lady Jday, courtesy of NYC Parks

6. Women’s History Month in NYC Parks
Throughout March 11

City parks across the five boroughs are hosting events that celebrate women, both of the past and present. Check out the art exhibit “Graffiti and Street Artists” at the Bronx’s Poe Park, a tour of significant sites in Central Park related to pioneering women, a Gravesend Cemetery tour and lecture on Lady Deborah Moody, and “Women of the Lenape” discussion at Staten Island’s Conference House Park.

Installation view, Out of Place: A Feminist Look at the Collection, Brooklyn Museum, [01/24/2020 – 09/13/2020] (Photo: Jonathan Dorado)

7. Out of Place: A Feminist Look at the Collection” at the Brooklyn Museum
January 24- September 13

The Brooklyn Museum presents a “feminist look” at works that have largely been overlooked by other major museums. “Out of Place,” which runs until Sept.13, showcases more than 60 works from 44 artists “whose practices require a broader and more dynamic view of modern and contemporary art,” according to the museum. The exhibit explores the role of museums, work created outside of the mainstream art world, and the “domestic sphere that connects to feminist critiques of art hierarchies.” See work from artists like Louise Bourgeois, Beverly Buchanan, Chryssa, Thornton Dial, Helen Frankenthaler, Lourdes Grobet, Betye Saar, Judith Scott, Carolee Schneemann, Joan Snyder, and Emmi Whitehorse. More than half of the works are on view for the first time, putting artists who have seen “out of place” at other museums on full display.

8. Nevertheless She Existed: Women are Hysterical
March 11

Satirical women’s website Reductress and the mastermind behind the podcast Nevertheless She Existed are teaming up this Women’s History Month to bring a comedy show full of funny feminists. Hosted at Caveat on the Lower East Side, the event will celebrate “the forgotten women of comedy” with performances from Molly Gaebe, Arti Gollapudi, Taylor Garron, Sarah Pappalardo, Maya Deshmukh, and Shalewa Sharpe. Tickets for the March 11 show cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

9. United Nations Observance of International Women’s Day 2020
March 6

The United Nations will host its annual observance of International Women’s Day on March 6. This year’s theme, “I Am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights,” celebrates important moments in the fight for gender equality, including the 20th anniversary of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace, and security, as well as the 10th anniversary of UN Women. Speakers include Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin, Nobel Peace Laureate Dr. Leymah Gbowee, youth activist Natasha Mwansa, and others. Plus, expect musical performances from Angélique Kidjo and Broadway Singers. The event is free, but attendees must register in advance here.

Photo courtesy of Robert Alexander (1978)

10. “Powerful and Dangerous: The Words and Images of Audre Lorde” at the Alice Austen House
Opens March 22

The Alice Austen House is celebrating feminist and New York native Audre Lorde with a new exhibit this month. Opening March 22, “Powerful and Dangerous: The Words and Images of Audre Lorde” feature photos of the writer by Robert Alexander. The three-month exhibit will include scholar talks, readings, and artist-led walks in Lorde’s former Staten Island neighborhood of Stapleton. Admission to the museum is $5.

11. “Women’s Art, Women’s Work” at the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum
March 21

At the Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum in East Flatbush, learn about the intersectionality of gender, labor, migration through everyday objects. Protest Garden artist-in-residence Jennifer Harley will lead workshops inspired by her research of black life in early New York and from the archives of the Wyckoff Farmhouse. The family-friendly event takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the workshop starting at 1 p.m. Reserve a spot for the free event here.

12. Celebrating the women of NYC’s public markets
March 7, 14, 21, 28

The city is celebrating the women who make up its six public markets, including Essex Market, La Marqueta, Moore Street Market, Arthur Avenue Market, and Jamaica Market. Hosted by the Economic Development Corporation, women.nyc, El Puente, and Queens FEASTS, the series consists of five events featuring local women-owned or operated businesses. In addition to the delicious food and drink available, the events will also include live music, voter registration opportunities, and information on service training. The full line-up can be found here.

13. Women’s History Month events at Village Preservation

Village Preservation is known for their awesome free events, and for Women’s History Month they’ve got a full roster. They’re kicking things off on March 5th with a panel discussion about the women of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (n0te: there is currently a waitlist), followed with a lecture on March 19th by 6sqft’s own history writer Lucie Levine titled “The Women of Greenwich Village and the Art and Politics of Social Change at the Turn of the Century” (also waitlist). On the 23rd, learn about famed photographer Berenice Abbott through her images (waitlist), on the 26th hear about how a trunk of discarded belongings pieced together the story of a 19th-century woman’s life, and on the 31st get informed about Dorothy Day’s life in the Village.

14. Activist talks at the Brooklyn Historical Society

To mark Women’s History Month, the Brooklyn Historical Society is hosting a series of activism-related lectures and talks, starting with activist and feminist Amy Richards on March 2nd, who will “talk about her experience as a Third Wave Feminist and all the women (past, present, and future) that have inspired her to continue fighting for gender equality.” On March 9th, four experts will discuss “the large discrepancy between the mortality rates of black mothers and white mothers,” and the following day the Society will partner with the Vera Institute of Justice “to highlight the wrongful and gendered treatment of incarcerated women” with Girls Behind Bars. Lastly, on March 19th, Don’t Tell Me to Smile will look at street harassment in New York City and how activists are responding.

15. Women Owned Businesses Pop-up at Grand Bazaar

The Upper West Side’s mega-fleamarket Grand Bazaar is hosting a women-owned business pop up on Sunday, March 8th. There will be a curated selection of over 75-women-owned small businesses selling everything from handmade crafts to vintage fashion and accessories to delicious artisanal foods.

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