Women’s History Month
By: Allison Hurley
March is Women’s History Month. This month is used to celebrate the accomplishments of powerful women, bring awareness to the inequality they face, and empower young women around the world.
Women’s History Month started as Women’s History Week. It was first celebrated by the Education Task Force of Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women in Santa Rosa, California the week of March 8, 1978, to correspond with International Women’s Day. The movement quickly spread throughout the nation. After a push from the National Women’s History Project (now called the National Women’s History Alliance) for the week to be federally recognized, in February 1980 President Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8 National Women’s History Week.
In 1987 Congress passed Public Law 100-9 which designated the month of March as Women’s History Month, and ever since 1995 every president has issued an annual proclamation designated March as Women’s History Month.
Since the founding of our nation many women have had outstanding accomplishments in the arts, literature, politics, entertainment and more. These women include, but are not limited to, Sally Ride, Maya Angelou, Harriet Tubman, and Sandra Day O’Connor.
Sally Ride was an accomplished Physicist and an alumni of Stanford University. She began working for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1977. On June 18, 1983 Ride became the first American Woman in space. She was in charge of conducting the robotic arm on the space shuttle. The arm was used to place countless satellites.
Maya Angelou was a world renowned poet and activist. She was a talented actress, singer, and dancer. Angelou even became Hollywood’s first female, African American director. As an activist in the Civil Rights Movement she worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X. In 2010 President Barack Obama awarded Angelou the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest honor an American civilian can receive. Finally, she ended her impressive career as an American Studies professor at Wake Forest University.
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in 1820 in Maryland. Tubman was a brave woman. At the age of twelve she stepped between another slave an a man who was preparring to throw a heavy weight at the other slave. Tubman was hit in the head with the weight. Although she survived the blow, Tubman was left with intense headaches, narcolepsy, and other side effects for the rest of her life. In 1849, Tubman planned to escape with her two brothers. Halfway through their escape her brothers changed their mind and went back to their plantation, Tubman kept going. She traveled through the Underground Railroad and found freedom in Pennsylvania. After obtaining her freedom she went back to the Underground Railroad to help other slaves escape. She was also an active abolitionist alongside Frederick Douglass, Martha Coffin Wright, Thomas Garrett, and others.
Sandra Day O’Connor
Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman on the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). O’Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. She acquired her undergraduate and law degree from Stanford University. After graduating in 1952, she struggled to find a job at a law firm because she was a woman. She became the deputy district attorney in San Mateo, California. Later, she served as a Civil Attorney for the Army. Over the years she also served as Arizona’s Assistant Attorney General, a senator in the Arizona state legislature, and a Judge on the Arizona Court of Appeals until her SCOTUS confirmation in 1981. On the SCOTUS O’Connor was often a decisive swing vote with heavily researched opinions. She eventually retired in 2006 at the age of seventy-five.
Ultimately, women should be celebrated all throughout the year, but March is a special time to remember the social and societal accomplishments of women and empower the girls and women of the future.
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