Gender Equity Center presents Women’s History Month programs in March

February 28, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — With March serving as Women’s History Month, the Gender Equity Center, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs is collaborating with other entities to provide a variety of programs focusing not just on women but also on issues that impact us all. All the programs are free and open to the public.

“While March is certainly a busy month in terms of programming, I am looking forward to students and our community being able to meet and speak with those leading the way in various areas from progressive theology and creativity to voting and sexual violence,” said Jennifer Pencek, programming coordinator of the Gender Equity Center. “I would encourage people to be willing to hear different perspectives and, if they are comfortable, share their views with a goal of fostering important dialogue and creating needed change.”

Programs include:

"Sexual Citizens: A Landmark Study of Sex, Power and Assault on Campus"

6:30 p.m. Monday, March 2 — Freeman Auditorium, HUB-Robeson Center

Researchers and authors Jennifer Hirsch and Shamus Khan take audiences through their journey with "Sexual Citizens: A Landmark Study of Sex, Power and Assault on Campus," which draws primarily on the ethnographic component of the Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation (SHIFT), the groundbreaking mixed-methods research project on sexual assault among Columbia and Barnard undergraduates. "Sexual Citizens" advances a new conceptual language for thinking about the social production of campus sexual assault: sexual projects, sexual geographies, and sexual citizenship. The book lays out the heterogeneity of experiences that are collapsed into the catchall category “sexual assault,” arguing for the importance of an intersectional approach to gendered power that accounts for how gender intertwines with age, wealth, control of space, disparities in clarity about one’s sexual projects, and a socially-cultivated sense of one’s own sexual citizenship to create the circumstances in which assaults happen. While written in dialogue with social science theory about gender, sexuality, and social stratification, the book is accessible to general readers, and addresses a topic of urgent interest to students, faculty, and administrators on college campuses.

Sponsored by Penn State's Gender Equity Center; Population Research Institute; Department of Sociology and Criminology; Department of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies; The Social Science Research Institute; and The Criminal Justice Research Center.

"Candice Benbow: Red Lip Theology"

7 p.m. Wednesday, March 25 — Freeman Auditorium, HUB-Robeson Center

Taking a walk down memory lane to explore the intersections of beauty, faith, feminism, and culture in the lives of black women, Candice Benbow discusses the millennial woman’s journey towards progressive theology, wholeness, and freedom.

Benbow has consistently provided commentary and initiated dialogue that speaks specifically to black women’s experiences. In 2015, she created Red Lip Theology, a movement to encourage young black women to embrace their whole selves as good creation. Through Red Lip Theology, Benbow merges theological ideals with beauty- industry participation to celebrate black women’s creativity and spirituality. She annually hosts a “Red Lip Revival,” using the hashtag #redliptheology, where black women are encouraged to pair a red-lip selfie with inspirational quotes and Bible verses. As Red Lip Theology’s creator, Benbow has been featured at many women’s empowerment conferences across the country. In December 2018, she launched "Red Lip Theology with Candice Marie Benbow," a theologically progressive podcast designed for black women.

Sponsored by the Gender Equity Center, 3rd Way Collective, Lutheran Student Community, Presbyterian Student Fellowship, Wesley Foundation at Penn State, Center for Spiritual and Ethical Development, Adult Learner Programs and Services, Multicultural Resource Center, and Racial Justice Allies of State College.

"Your Vote, Your Voice"

6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 31 — Flex Theater, HUB-Robeson Center

This panel discussion will include commentary on voting in the United States and how to attract people to the polls. A non-partisan event, the panel will address questions about issues that impact students, barriers that exist for specific populations of voters, and more. There will also be discussion on the 100th anniversary of women having the right to vote and the reality of that movement in terms of inclusion and exclusion.

The panel includes representation from Gender Equity Center, UPUA (University Park Undergraduate Association), Presidential Leadership Academy, and Ni-Ta-Nee NOW (National Organization of Women). The discussion will be moderated by Genevievre Miller, an international politics and African Studies major at Penn State who also serves as State College Borough Council Liaison.

Other March programs are:

"When Hope is Not in Sight: A Talk on Mental Wellness on Campus"

6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3 — 129 ABC HUB-Robeson Center

For more than 25 years, Scott Fried has lectured to more than 1 million teenagers and adults in nearly every U.S. state, as well as in Israel, England, Canada, Holland, and Honduras. He has spoken at more than 1,000 colleges/universities and other spaces. His work is based on a core belief that one must understand the value of one’s own life and hold it sacred in order to refrain from dangerous behaviors that could lead to HIV infection and other crises.

The idea for the Penn State talk, he said, comes from a quote Fried read as a teenager: "We cry when hope is in sight." After teaching for 28 years, he said he has found that most of his students think that they cry when things fall apart; but he said he believes that people actually cry when they are being put back together again, with healing hands. Fried said that this talk is about the ways in which we, as college students and community members, can explore and call upon some powerful healing modalities to reach our full potential and find room for our pain. He said he will use his own experience, living with HIV for more than 32 years, to model the many different ways we can live our best lives.

Sponsored by the Gender Equity Center, Presidential Leadership Academy, Schreyer Honors College, Hillel, Student Disability Resources, and the Jana Marie Foundation.

"QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Training: Jana Marie Foundation"

5:30 p.m. Monday, March 30 — 233 A HUB-Robeson Center

QPR stands for "Question, Persuade and Refer" — the three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Each year thousands of people are saying “Yes” to saving the life of a friend, colleague, sibling, or neighbor.

The training will cover these key components:

  • How to Question, Persuade and Refer someone who may be suicidal
  • How to get help for yourself or learn more about preventing suicide
  • The common causes of suicidal behavior
  • The warning signs of suicide
  • How to get help for someone in crisis

The event is free but requires advance registration, or e-mail

For more information on these programs and on the Gender Equity Center, please visit

Last Updated February 28, 2020