March is Women’s History Month. Local institutions offer ways to learn and reflect on the role of women throughout history or to actively change the norms of society. Here are a few of the best ways to celebrate the role of women in Minnesota.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Dr. Sara Paretsky
Luann Dummer Center for Women
O’Shaughnessy Education Center Auditorium
2115 Summit Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105
(651) 962-6119

Date: March 5

Paretsky’s advocacy for social justice and for those on the margin of society has led her to the world’s stage, frequently contributing to the New York Times’ op-ed page and speaking at various forums such as the Library of Congress, Oxford University or the University of Chicago. Paretsky’s 2007 memoir, “Writing in an Age of Silence,” a New York Times bestseller, explores our tradition of political and literary dissent and her work against currently unprecedented levels of repression of free speech and thought in our nation. It all started with a 1982 novel, “Indemnity Only,” where Sara introduced private detective, V.I. Warshawski. Women were either vamps or victims in novels those days. Fourteen novels later, Paretsky has demolished old stereotypes in detective fiction with V. I., an intellectually savvy and physically tough detective who flourishes in the gritty realism of Chicago’s streets.

State Capitol ‘Votes for Women’ Tour
Minnesota State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155

(651) 259-3000

Date: March 9

This special tour will focus on important Minnesota women involved in the suffrage movement and those who played significant roles in gaining the right to vote. Through photographs and other visual aids, learn about the struggles and success stories of Minnesota women working to persuade legislators and other elected officials in the State Capitol to support woman suffrage.

Related: Best Literary Landmarks In Minnesota

(credit: University of St. Thomas)

(credit: University of St. Thomas)

Women’s Rights and Empowerment: The Role of Education
University of St. Thomas
Thornton Auditorium
1000 LaSalle Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(651) 962-5000

Date: March 19

St. Thomas’ International Leadership Program forum highlights the importance of education in combating worldwide human rights’ abuses against women. Among the panel of experts are Cheryl Thomas, Founder and Director of the Women’s Human Rights Program at The Advocates for Human Rights. She will share stories about promoting women’s rights during her travels throughout Eastern Europe and report on the status of violence against women and children from her contribution to a book by the National Research Council. Panelist Meg Karraker is a professor of sociology, a Women’s Studies and Family Studies & Family Business Center Fellow at the University of St. Thomas, and co-author of two recent books on the subject. Karraker is expected to lay out some general issues before engaging in practical elements surrounding women’s human rights in regions of the world.

Women of Mill City
Mill City Museum
704 S. 2nd St.

Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 341-7555

Date: March 23

Meet four famous women in Minnesota history portrayed by Mill City Museum History Players:

  • Ann Pillsbury – represented by members of the Pillsbury Home Service from 1945 until the Pillsbury Doughboy was introduced in 1965
  • Mary Dodge Woodward – bonanza farm domestic manager and diarist in the 1880s
  • Eva McDonald Valesh – labor writer and organizer form 1880 to 1900
  • Gratia Countryman – influential Minneapolis head librarian from 1900 to 1930

Other events include a museum scavenger hunt for visitors to discover important roles of women in the history of Minneapolis, a short quiz to learn which of “women’s work” in the 18th and 19th centuries would one be best suited for and a piecework test to measure one’s speed against 19th century work standards.

Related: Twin Cities Among Best For Women’s Well-Being

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

Then Now Wow
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd.

St. Paul, MN 55102

(651) 259-3000

The largest ongoing exhibit ever undertaken by MHS is doing one better for Women’s History Month. Visitors can learn about many roles women have taken on throughout Minnesota’s history. For example, experience life in a prairie sod house, battles won by women who worked in Iron Range mines and life in modern day Minnesota. Other exhibit elements include boarding a Twin Cities streetcar, hitching a ride on a boxcar, sitting in a modern tipi and encountering artifacts and images unique to Minnesota’s diverse people and historic events.<

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow.His work can be found at