Tuesday marks the start of Women’s History Month. Everyone knows what it is, but I don’t think everybody knows where it comes from or why it’s so important.
Women’s History Month technically started in 1981 when Congress was asked to pass Pub. 97-28 which made the week starting of March 7 Women’s History Week. This continued until 1987 when Pub. L. 100-9 was passed, making all of March Women’s History Month.
It was created to celebrate the contributions women had made to the country that had previously gone unnoticed.
Some of the more known women were people like Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony and Harriet Tubman. More recently, we’ve had Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Kamala Harris.
These women have all dedicated their lives to making our country a better place in their own ways.
Harriet Tubman helped slaves escape through the Underground Railroad, Rosa Parks protested segregation and Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood up for women’s rights in the Supreme Court.
Women’s History month is not only about them, but also the lesser-known women who made an impact as well.
Sheila Michaels, for example, wanted women to have a title that showed that they didn’t just belong to a man and discovered the title “Ms.”
She went on the radio with her discovery and soon after, women had a new title that didn’t see them as a man’s belonging.
Michaels did something so small yet so important for women. Up until that point, women were spoken to in terms of who they were married to or who their father was.
For the first time, they could say that they were themselves. They were no longer referred to as someone’s daughter. They were now referred to as their own person.
Women’s History Month is for all the women like Michaels who did something that might have seemed so insignificant at the time, but has actually changed how women are perceived.
Someone else who deserves more recognition is Rosalind Franklin. Franklin lived from 1920-1958. During her life, she managed to uncover the structure for DNA. Her data directly led to the research that discovered the double helix.
However, at age 38, Franklin passed away. A group of three men took credit for her work.
They even went as far as to publish a book on “their” findings in which they took shots at the late scientist.
Franklin discovered groundbreaking evidence and completely changed the way we look at DNA and everything we know about biology.
Science wouldn’t be nearly as advanced without her. Yet, she never seems to get the recognition that she truly deserves. I didn’t hear her name until college.
This month is about the women who have done incredible things like that. It’s about the women who weren’t working for recognition.
They were working because they were passionate and wanted to make the world a better place.
As important as these women are, Women’s History Month is also about everyday women. The women I bet you often take for granted in your life. The kind of woman who works hard to keep her family together, the single mom who works two jobs to pay the bills.
This month is about them as well.
Frankly, without them, the entire world would stop spinning. Women are caregivers, professionals and leaders– usually all three at once. They’re some of the strongest people I’ve ever met. This month is about them too and all the good they put out into the world.