National Women’s History Month in March annually encourages us to honor the women who came before us and fought for equality among all races and genders.
“Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex.” -Mahatma Gandhi
While America is full of influential women today, hundreds of women came before them, paving the way. Women’s History Month serves as a way to not only remember them but keep carrying their torch onward. There’s still work to do. During the month, International Women’s Day also celebrates the achievements of women from the past and present.
Pioneering Women from History
- In the 1800s, Sojourner Truth was an abolitionist and women’s rights activist who was born into slavery and escaped with her infant daughter. She later became known for her “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech regarding racial inequalities in the year 1851 at an Ohio Women’s Rights Convention.
- Louisa May Alcott worked in the mid-1800s to support her family and their financial difficulties, while she was just a young girl. She wrote one of the most famous novels in American history, “Little Women.”
- Susan B. Anthony played a massive role in the women’s suffrage movement in 1878 when she and her friends presented an amendment to Congress that, if passed, would give women the right to vote. In 1920 it was ratified as the 19th amendment.
- In the mid-1900s, Marguerite Higgins was a reporter and war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune during WWII, The Korean War, and the Vietnam War. She was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Foreign Correspondence.
- Coretta Scott King played a crucial role in keeping alive the legacy of her husband, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., after his death. She started the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in 1968 after he was assassinated.
- Rosa Parks was one of the most famous, influential women of the civil rights movement. In 1955, she refused to give up her seat in the “colored section” of a bus to a white man and got charged with civil disobedience. Today, she’s widely known as the “mother of the freedom movement.”
- Sandra Day O’Connor is the only woman on this list who is still alive today. She is a lawyer, a celebrated judge, and was the first female justice on the Supreme Court from 1981-2006.
The list goes on, and we could have you reading about strong, brave, powerful, and influential women for hours. These women and thousands more played prominent roles in getting women to where they are today.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WomensHistoryMonth
Take the time to learn more about women’s history this month. If you do, chances are it’ll help you truly understand and appreciate the strength and determination of women across the country over hundreds of years. Use # NationalWomen’s HistoryMonth or #WomensHistoryMonth to post on social media and show the world how you are celebrating! If you’re a teacher or professor, take some time this month to teach your students about women’s history. To this day, some people still don’t fully understand the leaps and bounds women have made in the United States.
“I raise up my voice- not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” -Malala Yousafzai
In 1777, all states passed a law that took away women’s rights to vote. In 1855, a black woman who was a slave was declared property with no right to defend herself against her master’s act of rape. By 1900, every state had passed legislation based on New York’s Married Women’s Property Act. This granted married women some control over their property and earnings. In 1947, the U.S. Supreme Court stated that women are equally qualified with men to serve on juries. Now, women can do so much more than being able to own their own property and serve on a jury. Women can vote, and women have voices, all thanks to those who fought for equality. Do your own research to learn about the rest in honor of National Women’s History Month!
“The emancipation of woman will only be possible when woman can take part in production on a large, social scale, and domestic work no longer claims anything but an insignificant amount of her time.” -Friedrich Engels
NATIONAL WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH HISTORY
National Women’s History Month was established in 1987 as a way to celebrate women across the nation and their efforts to make the country, and world, a better place for women of all ages and races.