March is Women’s History Month and March 8, International Women’s Day. Let’s celebrate!
They behaved badly and became innovators. Inventors. Engineers. Activists. Advocates. Soldiers. Scientists. Doctors. Politicians. Leaders of movements. Leaders of governments. Leaders of families.
With a list of achievements and accomplishments from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Talk about the mother of invention. Did you know you can thank women for being the brains behind almost everything from the plain brown paper bag to coffee filters to today’s disposable diapers? Not to mention rocket fuel and the foundation for GPS, WiFi and Bluetooth technologies? (Check out this list for more.)
That’s what Women’s History Month is all about: remembering and reminding us about the contributions of notable and ordinary women, in hopes that the day will soon come when it’s impossible to teach or learn history without them.
It’s remembering the historic heroines of the past, like Susan B. Anthony. Irena Sendler (the female counterpart to Oskar Schindler). Clara Barton. Harriet Tubman. Margaret Meade. Marie Curie. Ada Lovelace. Katherine Johnson. Miep Gies and Anne Frank. Rosa Parks. Dr. Virginia Apgar. Eleanor Roosevelt. Heddy Lamarr. Margaret Sanger.
And those still making history and a difference: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Greta Thunberg. Malala Yousafzai. The first female captain in the New York Fire Department (now retired) Brenda Berkman. And Alice Lockridge, creator of Women4Women, an initiative to attract and train women in the male-dominated construction industry.
A little history on Women’s History Month
Since the beginning of history, women have shaped it. But recognition of their innumerous contributions has taken a little more time.
Women’s History Month has its roots in the socialist and labor movements. The first Women’s Day took place on February 28, 1909, in New York City, as a national observance organized by the Socialist Party. It honored the one-year anniversary of the garment worker’s strikes in New York when thousands of women marched for economic rights.
Within two years, Women’s Day had grown into an international observance that spread through Europe on the heels of socialism. The first International Women’s Day (IWD) was observed in 1911 to raise awareness of bias against and equality for women worldwide. The United Nations officially began marking IWD in 1975.
According to the National Women’s History Project, because history books largely left out the story or contributions of women in America, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women initiated a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. Timed around IWD, the celebration quickly spread to other organizations, communities and school districts, and lobbying efforts for a national Women’s History Week got under way.
Former President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the first national Women’s History Week for March 2-8, 1980, as did his successor, President Reagan, until Congress passed a proclamation establishing Women’s History Month in 1987.
And the rest, as they say, is history. (For a more complete history lesson, read this.)
All of us here at SelectBlinds.com invite you to get inspired and celebrate Women’s History Month. Keep up with past, present and future history makers on two of our favorite blogs and women-focused websites:
— A Mighty Girl is dedicated to inspiring stories, books, toys and movies about women and girls to help parents raise smart, confident and courageous daughters (and to help boys learn about them, too)
— Women You Should Know features profiles of courageous women from history and all walks of life who have made a difference in the past and those who are shaping our future
Tell us, too, how you’re making history in a comment below.
A little more history: Internationally, the color purple, which signifies justice and dignity, is the color for symbolizing women. The combination of purple, green and white to symbolize women’s equality originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union in the U.K. in 1908.
And for the curious, here are the identities of the women at the top of the page who helped and are helping to rewrite history:
Top row: Representative Shirley Chisholm, Anne Frank, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Katherine Johnson, Jane Goodall, Delores Huerta, Maya Lin, and Margaret Mead
Bottom row: Rigoberta Menchú, Rosa Parks, Sacagawea, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Junko Tabei, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Malala Yousafzai.