Forget ladies’ night—it’s ladies’ month—as in Women’s History Month—all across the United States, as well as the world beyond, and women everywhere are ready to party. Well, party and stand up and claim credit for their contributions to society and humanity and to point out that there is no stopping two or more women gathered together once they have seized upon an idea and determined that idea’s time has come.
But who exactly got this whole Women’s History Month started, anyway?
Well, it all goes all the way back to a handful of women in 1980s California. Feminists Molly Murphy MacGregor, Mary Ruthsdotter, Maria Cuevas, Paula Hammett and Bette Morgan noted that only three percent of content in mainstream history textbooks was devoted to the contributions of women. In response, the five Californians founded the National Women’s History Project (NWHP), but wanted to take the project further.
Inspired by the United Nations’ annual celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, the History Project women launched a concerted lobbying campaign, and in 1981 Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing President Ronald Reagan to proclaim the seven days beginning March 7, 1982, as “Women’s History Week.”
Thanks to the popularity of Women’s History Week, as well as continued lobbying by the NWHP, in 1987 Congress expanded the events to cover an entire month.
As for historically significant real-world Wonder Women who deserve to be celebrated in the coming few weeks, may I suggest....
Women’s History Month is officially celebrated by public and private institutions, including most universities and colleges, the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Women, as this rush of celebrations and commemorations indicate, are every bit as busy in 2013 as they have been at any previous moment in history.
Should you happen to visit Colonial Williamsburg this month, prepare to encounter tours highlighting the early contributions of American female artists.
In Dallas, the Women’s Museum will display 27 of famed photographer Annie Leibovitz’s portraits of women.
Chicago has events ranging from a cabaret show to fitness coaching for young girls.
In Los Angeles, feminists will hold a women’s media conference as well as a comedic performance on the topic of women’s history.
New York City is hosting a panel on women in comics, as well as a tribute to Wonder Woman.
As for historically significant real-world Wonder Women who deserve to be celebrated in the coming few weeks, may I suggest:
- Tammy Duckworth, who lost her legs in combat and was later elected to Congress. She is also the first woman with a disability to be elected to Congress, as well as the first Congressperson born in Thailand.
- Lily Ledbetter, who challenged Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co for employee discrimination and became the namesake for the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.
- Cecile Richards, who leads Planned Parenthood.
- Tammy Baldwin, who is the first openly gay senator in United States history.
- Sonia Sotomayor, who is the first Latina justice on the Supreme Court.
- Kym Worthy, who has been fighting to process over 11,000 rape kits had previously languished in a storage facility in Detroit. Thanks to Worthy’s efforts, law enforcement has already managed to identify 21 serial rapists.
Do you think there is a need for a women’s history month? Why isn’t there a men’s history month? Sound off in COMMENTS.