Office of Diversity Programs

Women's History Month

March 2014

Women's History Month Fact of the Day: 

 Tabitha Babbitt
On any given day, anywhere in the world, you'll find them in the hands of robust men as sweat drips from their brow. It's one of the tools most associated with the testosterone filled male, muscles bulging as they fire it up and the sawdust flies. It's the circular saw, and the irony behind this manly instrument is that it was invented by a quiet little Shaker woman named Tabitha Babbitt.
Tabitha was a member of the Harvard Shaker community in Massachusetts, living a simple life as a weaver.

The community thrived on its forestry commerce, and Tabitha would watch the men in the saw mill as she spun her goods. She noticed that the long two-man pit saw the loggers used was wasting motion, as the saw only cut one way.

Using her knowledge of the weaving machine, she created a circular saw blade and mounted it on a spinning axel. Spinning the axel at a high rate of speed, her circular saw proved a success, and the first saw she made currently resides in Albany, New York.

Tabitha is also accredited with inventing machine-cut nails, and many believe she assisted in the creation or refining of several tools commonly used today. As a Shaker, she valued a simple life, and never patented any of her inventions.

So gentlemen, the next time you're working on a construction sight, or revving up the circular saw to work on one of your home projects, remember you have a woman to thank. Thank Tabitha Babbitt.



Congressional Resolution

Since 1987, the month of March has been devoted to learning about and celebrating the role of women in history.  Read the full congressional resolution below.

United States Congressional Resolution Designating the Month of March as "Women's History Month" ~ See More

Whereas women of every race, class, and ethnic background have made historic contributions to the growth and strength of our Nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways;

Whereas women have played and continue to play a critical economic, cultural, and social role in every sphere of the life of the Nation by constituting a significant portion of the labor force working inside and outside of the home;

Whereas women have played a unique role throughout the history of the Nation by providing the majority of the volunteer labor force of the Nation;

Whereas women were particularly important in the establishment of early charitable, philanthropic, and cultural institutions in our Nation;

Whereas women of every race, class, and ethnic background served as early leaders in the forefront of every major progressive social change movement;

Whereas women have been leaders, not only in securing their own rights of suffrage and equal opportunity, but also in the abolitionist movement, the emancipation movement, the industrial labor movement, the civil rights movement, and other movements, especially the peace movement, which create a more fair and just society for all; and

Whereas despite these contributions, the role of women in history has been consistently overlooked and undervalued, in the literature, teaching and study of history:

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that March is designated as "Women's History Month.

This resolution was passed by Congress in 1987 and successive years since then.

This proclamation is made available by The National Women's History Project, founded in 1980, is an educational nonprofit organization. The mission is to recognize and celebrate the diverse and historic accomplishments of women by providing information and educational materials and programs.

For more information about the origin of National Women's History Month or the activities of the National Women's History Project, go to

Calendar of Events

Click on the link above to view all the events taking place in March in honor of Women's History Month.



Matlin -Marlee

Featured Keynote Speakers 

Diversity Lecture Series: Marlee Matlin Tuesday, March 25, 7:30pm

Delbrook Visiting Writers Series: Cheryl Strayed Monday, March 31, 7:30pm

GWSS Speakers Series - 'Identity, Diversity, and Activism' Julia Serano Tuesday, April 1, 5:30pm, PB15Colia Clark6

'Educating and Empowering Leaders Who Will Create a New World' Colia Clark, Activist in Residence, Monday, April 7, 7pm, PB150

Delbrook Visiting Writers Series: Jesmyn Ward Tuesday, April 8, 7:30pm


Woman of Distinction Awards

Each year, in conjunction with March's celebration of Women's History Month, the university honors valued members of the Butler community with the Woman of Distinction Award. This honor is reserved for a student, a faculty member, and a staff member described as someone who: is an outstanding leader who has shown commitment and dedication to improving the Butler community; reaches out to others while valuing herself; has created a vision and moves others toward that vision; has defined a clear role for herself in today's changing environment; faces challenges head on and is decisive and persistent; carries herself with dignity and pride, but never with vanity; values the strides achieved by women and has worked to improve the environment for women; and is a serious woman who rules her life with energy, integrity and love.

Nomination Process ~ See More

This award honors up to three Butler women including a member of the senior class, a faculty member, and a staff member. To nominate someone for this award, please complete the nomination form and attach it to a copy of the woman's resume, if available. If you do not have a resume for the nominee, please write out as much information as possible on the nominee's activities and contributions to Butler. On a separate sheet of paper, please write some comments explaining how your nominee's experiences and qualities are appropriate for the award. It always helps a nomination packet to have additional letters of support, and we encourage you to see if other people would be willing to write letters of support for your nominee. Typically 2-3 letters of support are sufficient.

If you have any further questions about Women's History Month, please contact Hope England ( or Valerie Davidson (

Submit your electronic nominations to Valerie Davidson at or send a paper version to the Efroymson Diversity Center, 004 Atherton.


2013 Woman of Distinction Award Recipients
Kimberly Northrup (student), Judy Cebula (staff), Vivian Deno (faculty)

Other Past Recipients

2012 Katie Ceranski (student), Sarah Barnes-Diaz (staff), Ena Shelley (faculty)
2011 Britlynn Hansen-Girod (student), Teri Amberger (staff), Jeanne VanTyle (Faculty)
2010 Christina Lear (student), Beth Couture (staff), Elise Edwards (faculty)
Laura Weiskopf (student), Stacey Elkin (staff), Wendy Meaden (faculty)
2008 Rebecca Scherpelz (student), Terri Jett (fac/staff)
2007 Laura Broaded (student), Michelle Jarvis (fac/staff)
2006 Jenna Frosch (student), Terri Carney (fac/staff)
2005 Emilee Preble (student), Margaret Brabant (fac/staff)
2004 Dina Bailey (student), Irene Stevens (fac/staff)
2003 Krystal Dawson (student), Ann Savage (fac/staff)
2002 Stephanie Chaudoir (student), Fran Colston (fac/staff)
2001 Nadja Halilbegovich (student), Michele Atterson (fac/staff)