Women’s History Month: Celebrating the Accomplishments of Women
March 8, 2016
There is no denying the immeasurable impact that women have made throughout history, and continue to make today. Whether it is campaigning for social issues, pushing the boundaries of traditional roles, crusading against conventional belief systems, or inspiring others, women have made their mark. Therefore, it is only fitting that we dedicate an entire month to celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of women all over the world.
Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day (March 8th) takes place in March, the month of the vernal equinox, a symbol of fertility, growth and renewal. From a historical standpoint, it seems that this particular month was chosen purely by coincidence to celebrate the achievements and successes of women. However, if we take a closer look at the parallels it seems a very fitting choice.
Not only does the third month of the year hold symbolic importance, but March has been the scene of many significant historical events in women’s history, which influenced great social change in our country and around the world.
For example, in 1851 Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, leaders in the Women’s Suffrage Movement, first met on a street corner in Seneca Falls, New York. In 1869, Rep. George W. Julian of Indiana introduced the federal women’s suffrage amendment as a Joint Resolution to both Houses of Congress. In 1911 The Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire happened in New York City, where more than 100 people died (mostly females), resulting in the largest female strike to date and, eventually, workplace safety protective legislation for workers. In 1933, Frances Perkins was sworn in as Secretary of Labor, as well as the first woman in the U.S. cabinet. In 1934, Babe Didrikson pitched a full inning for the Philadelphia Athletics (vs. the Brooklyn Dodgers). In 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.
Although there seems to be something in the air in the month of March, there have been immeasurable accomplishments made by many influential women throughout history. Some of these notable mentions are: young author and Holocaust victim Anne Frank, American Civil Rights leaders Amelia Boynton Robinson and Rosa Parks, aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, physicist and chemist Marie Curie, activist and youngest-ever Noble Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, adventurer Junko Tabei (first women to reach the summit of Mount Everest, 1975), author J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), astronaut and physician Mae Jemison, and First Lady, human and civil rights activist Eleanor Roosevelt.
There is no doubt that women have made major contributions in the shaping of culture, history and society in the United States and around the world. This year’s National Women’s History Month theme honors women who have shaped America’s history and its future through their public service and government leadership. There are many Women’s History Month events in the Chicago area, including a Women’s Heart Health presentation and a live performance titled Eleanor Roosevelt – One Woman Show, both offered at The Merion in Evanston. You can find out more about other National Women’s History Month events at https://www.nwhp.org/.