At the close of 2021, we lost three legendary female writers in a single month. 

These writers were, of course, bell hooks, Eve Babitz and Joan Didion. The losses followed one another in such quick succession that the world hardly had a chance to give each woman their due in salute and grief. 

This Women’s History Month, we have another opportunity to honor these great writers, in addition to the power and grace possessed by women everywhere.

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“Empowering Womxn of Color Open Mic” 

(8-10:30 p.m. March 4, La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, $5-$15): The Womxn of Color Open Mic returns to La Peña Cultural Center to welcome all who “experience life through the lens of womxn in body, spirit, identity — past, present, future and fluid.” Step up to the mic yourself, or come out to support Bay Area talent. Performers will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis, and performances will be limited to five minutes per person.

“Empowering Womxn of Color Open Mic” takes place March 4 at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley. (Image courtesy the La Peña Cultural Center staff)

Dr. Seema Yasmin and Zahra Noorbakhsh in conversation 

(2-3 p.m. March 4, San Francisco Public Library, virtual, free): Emmy Award-winning journalist Dr. Seema Yasmin joins Iranian American comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh to discuss “Muslim Women Are Everything,” Yasmin’s collection of “riveting, inspiring and stereotype-shattering” stories of Muslim women both past and present.

“Person. Woman. Camera. TV.”

(3-4 p.m. March 5, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, 1150 25th St., Building B, San Francisco, free): Pioneering media artist Lynn Hershman Leeson explores the relationship between technology and the female body in a series of striking digital photo collages. Hershman Leeson will discuss the nature of this fraught relationship, as seen in her 1985 work “Seduction,” with feminist scholar Peggy Phelan and curator Corey Keller. The photo collage is part of a larger exhibition called “Image Gardeners” on display at the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts through April 30.

Lynn Hershman Leeson’s 1985 photo collage “Seduction” is the center of the March 5 discussion on technology and the female body, “Person. Woman. Camera. TV.” (Photo courtesy Lynn Hershman Leeson, Bridget Donahue Gallery, New York, and Altman Siegel, San Francisco)

“Femme Fatal: Ladies Take Over” comedy show

(7 p.m. March 5, Marina Lounge, 700 Main St., Suisun City, $25-$80): Spoken word artist Candace Culpepper hosts the Bay Area’s finest female comedians at Marina Lounge in Suisun City. Drop by for critical comedy performed by Neishima Ford, Tina San Lucas, Regina Givens, Aja Mae and Tammy Tea Love.

“Writing Reality: An All Women Showcase”

(6:30 p.m. March 5, Spats, 1974 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, suggested donation $5-$20): “Writing Reality” showcases the power of the written word with performances by Stephanie Pelley, Victoria Leftridge, Joyce Lytle, Rayna Pelley, Roopa Ramamoorthi and Cherie Pelley. Hosted by poet and community organizer Milani Pelley, the event spotlights writer Diana Medina and features Danee Black, creator of the “What’s in Your Heart?” coloring journal. Soundscape by DJ MunkeePants.

“Writing Reality: An All Woman Showcase,” hosted by poet Milani Pelley, happens on March 5 at Spats in Berkeley. (Image courtesy Reginald Edmonds)

“The Glory of the Goddess” 

(2-3:30 p.m. March 6, The Center SF, 548 Fillmore St., San Francisco, $20-$40): Pavitra Jagadeesan, Renata Lima and Mary Menninger are the Bhakti Weavers, a Kirtan band “inspired by the sacred feminine and energized by soulful songs from various wisdom cultures.” This concert honors the Goddess or Devī, the songs inspired by the spiritual classic — “Devī Māhātmyam (The Glory of the Goddess).” Devī’s epic is made up of three stories, portraying sorrow and joy, heartache and triumph, and folly and wisdom. The tale in its totality is a “universal allegory of the human experience,” one that serves as an enlightening guide to the inner life.

“International Women’s Day 2022 Sail on San Francisco Bay” 

(9:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. March 8, Schooner Freda B, Sausalito Yacht Harbor, Slip 465, $99): Step aboard Schooner Freda B and learn about some of the most memorable women to have graced the San Francisco Bay Area, including grand madam Sally Stanford, psychedelic singer-songwriter Janis Joplin, actress Lotta Crabtree, prolific architect Julia Morgan and Alma de Bretteville, “The Great Grandmother of San Francisco.” All the while, survey the beauty of the Bay Area’s most iconic landmarks, from Angel Island to Coit Tower. Booze and provisions aboard.

Fourth annual Women’s Empowerment Summit 

(4 p.m. March 12-midnight Sunday, March 13, Continental Club, 1658 12th St., Oakland, free but donations are encouraged): The fourth annual Women’s Empowerment Summit aims to inspire and empower women to participate in the male-dominated world of hip-hop. A Women’s Empowerment Curriculum Workshop on the history of women in hip-hop will be followed by a panel discussion highlighting the unique challenge of balancing motherhood and artistry. Hip-hop artists Kamaiyah, Su’lan and Jane Handcock will contribute live performances alongside DJs LadyRyan and Shellheart, as well as dance performances by Iron Lotus Street Dance Company and the Bay Area B-Girls. ​​

Panel: “Lesbian Game Changers”

(6-7:30 p.m. March 15, Main Library, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco, free hybrid event): The San Francisco Public Library hosts filmmaker and queer historian Robin Lowey, author of Game Changers: Lesbians You Should Know About,” along with three of the 30 lesbian game changers featured within the book. Game changer guests include poet and playwright Jewelle Gomez, LGBT activist Crystal Jang and fiction writer Carla Trujillo. Their discussion will revolve around feminism, queer culture, intersectionality and how the pandemic has affected the mental and emotional health of the queer community.

Bay Area Queer Zine Symposium 

Bay Area Queer Zine Symposium, a prelude to the Bay Area Queer Zine Fest, takes place March 19 and 20 at San Francisco’s Institute of Contemporary Art. (Photo courtesy L. Herrada-Rios)

(Noon-6 p.m. March 19-20, The Institute of Contemporary Art, 901 Minnesota St., San Francisco, free): The Bay Area Queer Zine Fest organizers team up with the Institute of Contemporary Art’s “Meantime” program to offer a prelude to the annual Bay Area Queer Zine Fest, featuring a host of guided workshops for zine-makers of all experience levels. Inclusive event programming and forums aim to amplify the voices of people of color (QTPOC) and those who identify as LGBTQIA. (While women are not a majority in the festival organization, one of its goals is “to empower queer women.”)

“Artists 4 ERA: Art Show and Benefit for Gender Equality”

(5-9 p.m. March 19, Oakstop’s Broadway Gallery, 1721 Broadway #201, Oakland, free but donations are encouraged): Oakstop’s Broadway Gallery hosts the first live art event to kick off the nationwide “Artists 4 ERA” traveling show. Twenty-five artists will showcase their work in an effort to raise awareness of the collective effort to add gender equality to the U.S. Constitution with the Equal Rights Amendment. Participating artists of note include visual artist Tara McPherson, renowned muralist and community organizer Erin Yoshi and Shepard Fairey, the founder of OBEY Clothing.

History Talks: “Women in the California Gold Rush” 

California State Parks’ Jerrie Beard will talk about the lives of women in the Gold Rush on March 19 at Benicia Historical Museum. (Image courtesy Benicia Historical Museum)

(11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. March 19, Benicia Historical Museum, 2060 Camel Road, Benicia, $2-$5): Stop by the Benicia Historical Museum to learn about the various roles that women occupied during the California Gold Rush, as well as their financial successes. Presented by Jerrie Beard, a California State Parks employee and a National Association for Interpretation-certified interpreter.

“Jews, Gender and the Family”

(1-2:30 p.m. March 30, April 6 and April 13, Kurland Lounge and Upper Courtyard, Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael, $1 suggested donation): Led by Dr. Elaine Leeder, this three-week class will discuss the construction of gender and family in Jewish culture throughout history. Wеdnesday, March 30, will cover “Construction of Gender in Jewish Text and Culture,” followed by “Masculinity and Feminism in Jewish History and Practice” on April 6 and finally “The Jewish Family in American Society” on April 13.