Women marching in demonstration. Image by Pablo Valerio from Pixabay.com
March is Women's History Month, a time when we reflect on the contributions that women have made to society throughout history. Women have played a crucial role in shaping the world we live in today, and their contributions are often overlooked or undervalued. It is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of women and to acknowledge the ongoing struggle for gender equality.
Women Making a Difference in the Political Arena
One area where women have made significant contributions is in politics. Women have fought for their right to vote, run for office, and hold positions of power. In 2023, we celebrate the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote in the United States. This milestone is a testament to the tireless efforts of women who fought for decades to secure this right for all women.
This Year's Theme: "Women Inspiring Change"
The theme for Women's History Month 2023 is "Women Inspiring Change." This theme focuses on the many ways women have inspired change throughout history and continue to do so today. From advocating for equal rights to leading in various fields, women have played a vital role in shaping the world we live in.
The Historical Struggle for Equality
The origins of Women's History Month can be traced back to the early 1900s when women began to organize and demand better working conditions and suffrage rights. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City to demand better pay, shorter hours, and voting rights. In 1910, the International Socialist Woman's Conference was held in Copenhagen, and a proposal to create an International Women's Day was passed unanimously. The first International Women's Day was observed on March 19, 1911.
Here in Sonoma County, California where I live the education task force of the California Commission on the Status of Women initiated a Women's History Week celebration in 1978. The week was chosen to coincide with International Women's Day, and the goal was to highlight the contributions of women to history and to promote women's studies in schools. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women's History Week, and in 1987, Congress passed a resolution designating March as Women's History Month.
Why Celebrating Women's History Month is So Important
The reason why we need Women’s History Month and similar celebrations is that the contributions of women, black people and other minorities have been ignored and minimized for centuries. Hopefully, we can look forward to a time when, not only are women and others written back into history, but we also live in a world where all people are valued, recognized and respected.
“Know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world.” — Oprah Winfrey
Here at FREA, we believe it's important to recognize the incredible contributions women have and are making to create a better, more just world.
John Freedom, Executive Director