By Kelly Burch
---- — ANDOVER – Baby Boomers have seen dramatic changes in their lifetimes. And one of the most apparent developments has been the advancement of women’s rights.
In recognition of Women’s History Month, throughout March the BoomerVenture organization will host a lecture series featuring notable women at The Center at Punchard, formerly the Andover Senior Citizen’s Center. Entitled “Leading Ladies,” the series will introduce audiences to local and national figures who have been forces behind the Women’s Movement.
“I am so excited about this series, it’s driving me crazy,” said Karen Payne-Taylor, program coordinator for the center.
Keynote speaker, Joan Ditzion, is the coauthor of the legendary book series “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” Ditzion will be at The Center at Punchard on March 19 to discuss her work, and how it changed the way women view their health and sexuality.
“This is one of the most iconic women of our time,” said Payne-Taylor. “This work was an incredible handbook on equality, workplace inequality, and reproductive rights.”
An recent addition to the book series, “Ourselves, Growing Older,” ensures that the “Our Bodies, Ourselves” series is relevant to Baby Boomers at all stages in their lives.
The other three lectures in the series highlight local leaders in the women’s movement.
The first lecture, “Now that the laundry is folded: ON WITH THE REVOLUTION,” will be led by Phoebe Kwass, who began the consciousness raising movement in Andover in the 1960s.
“She came to the library with a handwritten note to hang on the board, looking for women who were interested in talking about these issues,” said Payne-Taylor.
Kwass still is involved in community action, and helps out at The Center at Punchard.
Another highlight will be Rosemary Webb, the first female photographer for The Eagle-Tribune.
“She had to deal with editors not wanting to wake her at 3 a.m. to photograph a fire,” said Payne-Taylor.
Webb will discuss how and why she broke through gender barriers to become a successful photojournalist.
The final lecture on women in the arts and will feature Andover descendents of Anne Bradstreet, the first poet to be published in the colonies.
“We are highlighting a lot of women who led the way,” said Payne-Taylor.
She encourages anyone interested in the series to attend.
“We are reaching out to the community on many levels,” she said. “People of all ages are welcome.”
If You Go: What: Women's History Month, "Leading Ladies" lecture series. When: Tuesdays in March at 1:30 p.m. Where: The Center at Punchard, 30 Whittier Court, Andover. How: RSVP by calling 978.623.8321. More info at andoverseniorcenter.org. Series Schedule: March 5: Meet equality pioneer Phoebe Kwass, who began the women's rights movement in Andover. March 12: Discuss the trials and triumphs of breaking into a male-dominated field with Rosemarie Webb, the first female photographer at The Eagle-Tribune. March 19: The series' keynote speaker, Joan Ditzion, is coauthor of the ground-breaking series, "Our Bodies, Ourselves." Discuss this revolutionary work with her. March 26: Join Andover descendents of Anne Bradstreet, the first poet published in the New World, as they celebrate women in the arts.