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Women’s History is American History—and Now You Can Help Tell It

Engage with the West Michigan Woman Community!

Women’s history is American history, but it isn’t always told.

That’s why it’s been so exciting to see the development of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum, whose vision is to create a more representative history and a more collective future. The mission: a physical museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

This project resonates very strongly with me. Inforum was started in 1962 by 23 women at a time when women were entering the workforce in larger numbers. Their need for current information, mentoring, and a place to share ideas and exercise leadership skills became critical. Women were not allowed to belong to most of the forums men used to build their careers, including business and professional associations. 

Today, we have grown to more than 7,300 members and work hand-in-hand with more than 100 companies. Men are important participants and contributors to our activities and our mission. 

And that local history is one reason why we’re so excited to feature the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum at our 62ndannual meeting on June 20, 2024, which has the theme of “Becoming Visible: The Importance of Women’s Stories.”

The lunch event features Dr. Elizabeth C. Babcock, who, effective June 3, will bring her two decades of museum leadership experience to the role of Museum Director.

Elizabeth will share with us more about the museum and then will be joined on stage by Jane Abraham, a Michigan native who served as chair of the Congressional Commission to Study the Potential for a National Women’s History Museum and is co-chair of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum’s Founding Council.

Telva McGruder, Executive Director of Global Body Manufacturing Engineering for General Motors, and a member of the boards of Inforum and Girl Scouts of the USA, will be the moderator.

You can attend this event in Southeast Michigan at the Troy Marriott; at Steelcase in Grand Rapids, where we will watch a simulcast; or virtually. You can find more information or register for any of these options here.

In the meantime, here are ways you can participate in the new museum:

  • Visit the museum’s first digital exhibitBecoming Visible: Bringing American Women’s History Into Focus. The exhibit features five little-known women: Elizabeth Keckly, the dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln; Hazel Fellows, a seamstress who worked on spacesuits for Neil Armstrong and other Project Apollo astronauts using newly developed materials that kept human beings alive on another planetary body; Isabel Morgan, whose research was the basis for the Salk polio vaccine; Margaret Knight, who invented and patented—among many other things—a machine that enabled mass production of flat-bottom paper bags; and Hisako Hibi, a Japanese American artist who produced dozens of paintings while incarcerated with her family in an internment camp during World War II. 

  • Share your story—or a story of a woman or women from your family, community or past who inspired you. This may sound intimidating, but the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum has made it easy. Visit here to learn more. 

  • Contribute to Wikipedia, where fewer than one in five of the biographies are about women. Learn more here.

As the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum notes, women’s history is integral to understanding the American experience. Please join us on June 20 to learn more about—and be inspired by—how women’s contributions have shaped America.


Inforum BeckyHeadshot

 Becky Wood is vice president of corporate and member engagement at Inforum. You can reach her at [email protected]. Learn more about Inforum at www.myinforum.org. You can learn more about Inforum’s history by watching this video.

 

 

 Photo Courtesy of Inforum.

 

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