By: Ananya Jaikumar
“Women’s History is Women’s Right.” – It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.” Dr. Gerda Lerner said this during President Jimmy Carter’s proclamation in 1980 of March 2-8 as National Women’s History Week in the United States. In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month, encouraging citizens to focus on the achievements of women in history. As we look back on women’s history, it is important to consider major milestones. On August 18, 1920, American women were given the right to vote. 2016 was the first year a woman was nominated for presidential candidacy by a major party. The contributions of women have truly changed our world.
This year’s theme for the month is Visionary Women. Women around the world have made countless sacrifices, and continue to be inspirational leaders. There is no one way to change the world, and women have broken glass ceilings in discovery, politics, activism and human rights, education, the arts, and STEM. Visionaries are all around us, and this month, we can celebrate those from the past, within our present, and the visionaries of the future. March 8 is also International Women’s Day, where the theme is #BalanceForBetter. As women continue to better our world, we must prioritize equality and respect.
March is Women’s History Month in the United States, the UK, and Australia. Canada celebrates it in October. The significance behind this decision resides in the history behind the Person’s Case. The verdict of the Person’s Case deemed women to be defined as persons. The decision in the Persons Case signaled a turning point in the quest for equal rights in Canada, giving women the right to be appointed to the Senate and paving the way for their increased participation in public and political life. This is celebrated yearly on October 18, and International Day of the Girl is also on October 11.
These days are not to bring down men or show that women are ‘better’. This has never been the goal of feminism or activism. The goal of feminism is to define, establish, and achieve the political, economic, personal, and social equality of sexes. By celebrating women’s history, we can appreciate the contributions of those before us, and work towards ensuring the future is balanced, better, and full of visionaries.