What Does Women’s History Month Mean to Us?
I’ve always thought women were way stronger than men — but more stoic too. Growing up in the 50’s I’ve seen my mother, grandmother and great grandmother hold the family together and despite all odds, always put food on the table, clothe the kids and keep everything running with very little. Working full time while raising a family and not complaining, just doing. Women all around the world still do this day in and day out. In many cultures the women carry the heavy load literally and figuratively and are often too oppressed to change the situation. I salute them all. I feel I’ve straggled two worlds, the past where in the UK women over 21 did not get to vote until 1928 (even when I was born, most women did not vote) and the present, where despite the tremendous progress it’s still an old boys club. As women we have a great opportunity and responsibility to change the status quo and forge a new future for ourselves and generations to come. We need to teach our children that women and men are equal and should have equal rights and opportunities. To me Women’s History Month is a time to remember and honor all those women who have fought for our rights, many losing their lives in the process and to make a commitment to their memory to never give up until we are all truly equal.
Growing up, I was one of three daughters and lived in a house where my Dad was the only male for miles (seriously, even our dogs were girls). That being said, growing up in a household with a female majority really taught me to appreciate the power of women. I was raised never to see myself as lesser than men, and to stick up for myself when others tried to put me down. To me, Women’s History Month is a celebration of the women of the past, who gave me my rights; the women of the present, who are fighting for my rights; and the women of the future, who will keep fighting for those rights. To me, this month is a time to celebrate the countless number of women who marched bold and bright on Washington (which I can proudly say included my own mother), and to celebrate my sisters and friends who are paving their way through a patriarchal society. Overall, Women’s History Month is something that I hold close to my heart, and, to me, is a time to ignore differences of opinion and accept all other women not as strangers, but as sisters.
I think we’ve come a long way in recognizing the contributions by women to past and current events, but we still have a way to go. While we should all take some time this month to appreciate the women who made great contributions to society and helped pave the way for today’s leaders, while recognizing the contributions of those leaders as well, this is really something we should be doing every day. In fact, it’s hard not to when you read the news and hear about all the amazing things that women are doing, or witness great things being done by the women in your own life every day.
As Women’s history month highlights the trailblazing efforts of women of the past, we are reminded that all too often antiquated thinking and common stereotypes continue to seep into our daily lives and work. It’s far too easy to be complacent and confine ourselves to the barriers of cultural norms. Women’s history can inspire us all to take an active role to be better world citizens, and to always challenge the status quo.
Women’s History Month is a month for me to ponder on all the accomplishments and setbacks we’ve had as women. It is a time to reflect on the work that still needs to be done while rejoicing on the many inspiring women leaders that I look up to for empowerment.
Women’s History Month means a lot of things to me but the most important is remembering to honor the women who have paved the way for me today while not forgetting that there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done here in the U.S and around the world. After the upset results of the US election and the uncertainty that our future holds as female leaders, I want to make an intentional effort to celebrate women’s history every month!