Women’s History Month poster contest entries showcased in the SHED

Student poster designs will be on digital display as part of Women’s History Month celebrations

Aisha Khalid

The winning poster from 2023 created by Aisha Khalid, a fourth-year computing information technologies student.

Look up in the SHED this month and you’ll see a display of student-made posters submitted for the university’s annual Women’s History Month poster contest. As part of RIT’s Women’s History Month celebrations, students from across the university submitted their poster designs to the contest, which was organized by the College of Liberal Arts’ Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program. The posters will be on display on the jumbo screen in the SHED atrium from March 17 through March 31.

The theme of each contest entry is crafted around a quote from a collection of essays by Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” Silvia Benso, WGSS program director and professor in RIT’s Department of Philosophy, shared that this theme was selected by a student who took a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course last fall and was inspired by the quote.

“Lorde’s statement seemed quite appropriate to the global situation of women around the world in these recent years, where many women have been confronted with various issues deeply undermining their ability for self-determination and their chances to live free, safe, fulfilling, and independent lives,” said Benso. “We proposed the quote to students and we let them decide how to visualize its meaning in ways that seemed powerful and impactful to the design creators.”

View this year’s posters

To view the contest entries, check out the jumbo screen in the SHED atrium or go to the contest webpage.

This is the third year the WGSS program has offered this poster design contest to celebrate Women’s History Month. Benso shared that the WGSS program started the annual contest to help the RIT community celebrate and take pride in Women’s History Month by leveraging students’ creative abilities.

Benso also remarked that the contest invites reflection on the many issues that still affect women today—issues of inclusion, equity, equality, rights, and recognition—and can provide increased visibility for the WGSS program and its offerings, which people across campus may not be familiar with. In addition to the current offering of immersions and minors, the WGSS program is now offering a new bachelor’s degree program and will begin accepting incoming students in fall 2024.

“We hope that people who see the posters will realize that Women’s History Month is not only about celebrating the accomplishments of past women, but it is also, and moreover, about standing by and in strong support of contemporary women who still fight for their rights, for being acknowledged and recognized, for inclusion in decision-making processes, for equal treatment within the family, at work, in their professions, and in their daily lives in general,” said Benso. “In other words, it is not enough to celebrate the past; we also need to act in the present and for the future. The world we are going to shape for future generations is our legacy and responsibility.”

The winner of the poster contest will be announced during an award ceremony from 3 to 4:15 p.m. on Monday, April 1, in room 3350 of the SHED. The ceremony will be followed by a conversation with Tina Chapman DaCosta, director of Diversity Theater, on “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Justice, and Inclusion,” which will include a screening of Chapman DaCosta’s documentary Dear Eleanor.

For details about the award ceremony, go to the “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Justice, and Inclusion” event webpage. Read this article for more information on how to participate in other RIT events celebrating Women’s History Month.

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