Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month is a time dedicated to celebrating the milestones in history that have supported, furthered, and emphasized the voices of women. The recognition of this month began as Women’s History Week in 1981 with the passing of a statute by Congress, part of which states, “...American women have played and continue to play a critical economic, cultural, and social role in every sphere of our Nation's life by constituting a significant portion of the labor force working in and outside of the home.”
Part of women’s history is the advancement of women’s roles in places other than the home, such as in the workforce, military, and political office. Some of those opportunities wouldn’t have been possible without the women’s suffrage movement, which most notably featured Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Staton. These efforts eventually brought white women the right to vote in 1920 with the adoption of the nineteenth amendment.
It’s important to note that although Black women, such as Ida B. Wells and Nannie Helen Burroughs, were pivotal voices in the original suffrage movement, it took much longer for Black women to secure the right to vote. While some Black women were able to vote in some states, most were not. That security eventually came from the Vorting Rights Act of 1965. Now we have Kamala Harris, the first bi-racial Black and Indian woman in office as our first female Vice-President, which is yet another milestone for not just women, and for women of color in particular.
It’s important to set aside this celebratory time in March of every year to recognize the history and continuing movement supporting women’s rights. As the statute from 1981 goes on to say, “American women of every race, class, and ethnic background served as early leaders in the forefront of every major progressive social change movement, not only to secure their own right of suffrage and equal opportunity, but also in the abolitionist movement, the emancipation movement, the industrial labor union movement, and the modern civil rights movement; and Whereas despite these contributions, the role of American women in history has been consistently overlooked and undervalued in the body of American history.”
In all, Women’s History Month is a time of celebration for what women have accomplished over the years. As a woman, I think it’s great to see this movement carry on year after year, especially since it recognizes and highlights the importance of women in society today. I think about women like Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Maya Angelou, Malala Yousafzai, Simone De Bouvier, and Ruth Bader-Ginsburg. I’m inspired by them and how dedicated they were to the causes of furthering women’s voices, education, and rights. I encourage you to learn more about these women and their incredible achievements and advocacy throughout history.
Those women, amongst so many others, make me even prouder to be a woman.