The Grinnell League of Women Voters and S.H.E. Counts are planning an event on March 8, International Women’s Day, to celebrate and encourage the next generation. The local event is also a fundraiser to provide a $500 S.H.E. Counts scholarship to a Grinnell High School graduating senior who is the first in her family to attend college.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since the early 1900s as a global day to recognize the social, economic, cultural, and political contributions of women and to call for action toward gender parity. In many countries, IWD is an official national holiday on March 8.
Terese Grant, co-president of Grinnell League, said that last year the League chose to expand its role in the community by celebrating International Women’s Day with a public event to honor the women of Grinnell. “Our efforts were well received, and we are so pleased to be working this year in partnership with S.H.E. COUNTS to once again celebrate IWD and raise money for their scholarship program,” Grant said.
The March 8 evening program at the Grinnell College Golf Course clubhouse will feature well-known Iowa political leaders Maggie Tinsman and Jean Lloyd-Jones, founders of the organization 50-50 in 2020. In 2010, Tinsman and Lloyd-Jones adopted a 10-year plan to reach gender parity in Iowa with more female leaders by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the U.S.
Delphina Baumann, a member of S.H.E. Counts and the event planning committee, said that the S.H.E. Counts scholarship will be awarded in 2017 for the first time, with the expectation of granting an annual scholarship and renewing scholarships up to four years for previous recipients.
“We are pleased to bring local women together on International Women’s Day to celebrate our many achievements and to encourage each other as we continue our efforts to improve the lives of girls and women in our community. We are grateful to our sponsors who support this event and make it possible for more individuals to attend and be inspired each year,” Baumann said.
The Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, as the lead, transformative sponsor, will support the attendance of 12 individuals who might otherwise not be able to attend. Additional sponsors include Cirks Financial Services LLC, Dental Associates, Grinnell College, Grinnell Eye Care, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance, Grinnell State Bank, Ramsey Weeks, and Total Choice Printing and Shipping. These sponsors also will support the attendance of students and others in the community who might not be able to attend due to cost.
In advance of the March 8 event, the planning committee is soliciting written letters from community members that encourage the next generation as they would have motivated their younger selves, now with the benefit of hindsight. The letters will be published in a booklet to be distributed at the fundraiser or purchased for further distribution. Members of the community interested in submitting a 300-word memoir for publication may send via email by Feb. 10 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tickets for the March 8 event can be purchased beginning Feb. 10 at the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce and the Drake Community Library. The $20 ticket includes a dinner catered by Grinnell College, the evening program, and support of the S.H.E. Counts endowed scholarship.