By Melissa Chapman
Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contribution to history, culture and society. It has been observed annually in March since 1987. President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. The U.S. Congress followed suit the next year, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration. Six years later, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March.
While America is full of influential women today, hundreds of women came before them, paving the way. Women’s History Month serves as a way to not only remember them but also keep carrying their torch onward. There is still work to do. During the month, it also celebrates the achievements of women from the past and present.
Some of the women who have come before have been Rosa Parks, who was one of the most famous, influential women of the civil rights movement. In 1955, she refused to give up her seat in the “colored section of a bus to a white man and was charged with civil disobedience. Louisa May Alcott worked in the mid-1800s to support her family and their financial difficulties, while she was just a young girl. She wrote one of the most famous novels in American history, “Little Women,” in the mid 1900s.
Marguerite Higgins was a reporter and war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune during World War II, The Korean War and the Vietnam War. She was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Foreign Correspondence. Sandra Day O’Connor is a retired attorney, a celebrated judge and was the first female justice on the Supreme Court form 1981 to 2006.
How can we observe Women’s History Month? Every woman has a story to tell and gifts to share with the world. Think of a woman you admire. Write her a letter describing the impact she has on your life. Have a lunch with the women in your life. It is a great way to reconnect and remind them how much they mean to you. Study women’s history, read a book, go to a museum or see an exhibit.
Take the time to learn more about women’s history this month. If you do, chances are it will help you truly understand and appreciate the strength and determination of women across the country over hundreds of years.