Women are the ultimate multitaskers. They are mothers, partners, scientists, athletes, activists, healers, artists, business people, sexual beings, the list goes on and on. Throughout history, women have pushed the boundaries that have been placed on them. Our fight for equity serves us all; as individuals and as a society.
The march towards equality and representation hasn’t always been easy, and frankly, it still isn’t. Women are constantly fighting to be seen, heard, and respected. In the push for women’s empowerment, one of the most impactful tools we have is education. Women’s History Month gives people the chance to learn from those in the past who have opened the gates of empowerment and equity for those in the future.
While we should be celebrating women everyday, Women’s History Month gives us a dedicated time to honor and understand the history of women’s rights and liberation. This is a time to reflect on the dedication and devotion that so many women have poured into their fields of study, their careers, and their passions, for the sake of furthering humankind. The month of March asks people everywhere to remember and commemorate women that have created advancements in every field. We remember those whose names we know well, and those we never knew.
Reach out to women and femme centered groups in your area — we’re stronger in community. Remember the women that came before you, and that every little action you take counts.
How Did Women's History Month Start?
The first International Women’s Day was held over one hundred years ago on March 19th 1911. While women continued to celebrate different iterations of this commemorative day across the globe, International Women’s Day wasn’t officially recognized by the United Nations (UN) until 1977.
This tradition continued across the U.S. throughout the 1900’s, one of the most notable being a week long celebration at a school in Northern California in 1978. The Sonoma County school spent a whole week recognizing women’s accomplishments throughout history.
After nearly eighty years of week long gatherings of women celebrating their history, in 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation officially naming the week of March 8th National Women’s History Week. In 1986, the National Women’s History Project was able to convince Congress to dedicate the entire month of March to honoring Women’s History. The next year, 1987, Congress officially declared March Women’s History Month.
“Valiant Women of The Vote”
Each year, the National Women’s History Alliance declares a theme for the month. In 2020, the focus is “Valiant Women of The Vote”, honoring "the brave women who fought to win suffrage rights for women, and for the women who continue to fight for the voting rights of others." Of course this falls uncoincidentally on an election year, and a mere one hundred years after women were granted the right to vote in 1920.
Time for Equality
While the right to vote was a good start, we still have a long way to go in terms of gender equality. The Women’s Empowerment Movement was developed in partnership between UN Women and the United Nations Global Impact. This movement offers practical guidelines in order to promote gender equality in every area of life.
Their seven guiding principles are:
- Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality.
- Treat all women and men fairly at work — respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination.
- Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers.
- Promote education, training and professional development for women.
- Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women.
- Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy.
- Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality.
The more these practices are implemented into workplaces, marketplaces, and communities, the closer we get towards gender equality.
How To Support Women’s History Month
You’ve probably heard the term “vote with your dollar”; this powerful practice is something you can do on a daily basis. Put your money where your mouth is, and make a regular effort to buy from women owned businesses. Revolutions take economic resources. Your investment in woman owned companies puts that much more energy and financial backing into the same principles that allow for the advancement of women’s empowerment on a widespread scale.
What better way to celebrate and support Women’s History Month, than by contributing to the women owned businesses that were made possible by the activists that are remembered during this time?
Businesses like Lora DiCarlo are paving the road for an economy that is balanced by having representation from every gender. Supporting these businesses means celebrating the achievements of every woman who fought to create them. The more we celebrate these achievements, the more space is opened up for additional opportunities.
Women and femme people offer an alternative lens to the traditionally patriarchal views that have historically shaped so many societies. Bringing these voices into every industry from business, to technology, and product development, allows for greater innovation. A more diverse workforce means a wider variety of ideas, where more people’s needs are being represented and taken into account.
Technology has proven to be a powerful tool for creating opportunities and a greater ease of life. When femme minded people’s ideas are being amplified, and projected into the public, we see greater opportunities for all.
A world of gender equality is more than just the right to vote, equal pay, or fair maternity leave. Gender equality means fluidly integrating the guidelines set by the Women’s Empowerment Movement into our daily lives.
Wondering what you can do to make a difference?
Women’s History Month is made possible by a variety of organizations including the Library of Congress, National Park Service, and National Endowment for The Humanities.
Consider contributing, even a small amount to these organizations and other ones that support women’s empowerment like The Center for Reproductive Rights.
Swing by your local library and pick up a book about an influential female figure. Tune into a woman hosted podcast. Spend intentionally and vote wisely. Reach out to women and femme centered groups in your area — we’re stronger in community. Remember the women that came before you, and that every little action you take counts.