March is Women's History Month.
Each year, we take the time to celebrate and educate ourselves about the wonderful contributions women have had and continue to have on our society. Without the success and work of women, there would be no America.
Women's History Month officially became a longstanding tradition in the U.S. in 1987. In the 1970s, women's history was basically an untouched topic in the country and especially in classrooms. So, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women initiated a celebration of women's history in 1978. International Women's Day became a holiday celebrated on March 8. Schools all around the Sonoma County area in California put on activities, classroom presentations and parades.
The response to the new event was so overwhelmingly positive that Molly Murphy MacGregor was able to pitch the event to The Women's History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. The women at the event helped a national movement towards National Women's History Week.
Political support then followed and President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8 National Women's History Week in 1980. Push in Congress and in schools led to a more fixed celebration of women's history, thus the creation of Women's History Month in March.
Women's History Month stands as a nationwide celebration of the achievements of women throughout world history. We honor the scientists, politicians, athletes, writers, artists, single mothers, accountants, electricians and women of all areas and aspects in their contributions to humankind.
Each year, the National Women's History Project devotes the month of March to a unique cause, this year honoring women who fight all forms of discrimination against women. This is an especially important topic considering the recent push for more representation and an end to harassment in all workplaces.
Many female celebrities are continuing to speak out on harassment issues like Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Chastain and more. It is important to look up towards celebrities because they are the ones blazing the trail for women moving forward. We have seen it in the past, like some of the most famous women showcasing their influence like Jackie Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt and Elizabeth Taylor. They taught the world that any woman can have a voice and deserved to be treated as such. It's been a long road for women and it could be decades before change by these women actually becomes implemented in everyday life for us. But, keep an eye on the hard-charging women pushing for change now because their legacy will continue on.
The National Women's History Project will honor the legacy of 15 women who refuse to be silenced, who took action and demonstrated the power of voice that leads to unrelenting and meaningful change. Some of the honorees include Geraldine Ferraro who was the first major party VP candidate in 1984, Margaret Dunkle who championed Title IX, Pat Maginnis who was the first abortion rights activist in the U.S. and many more.
So what can you do to help celebrate Women's History Month?
Well, first you can educate yourself on the lives of these amazing women and learn about what they did to change the world. Institutions all across the U.S. and the world are celebrating the month with panels and events. Go to womenshistorymonth.gov to find events near you. Museums all across America are getting involved. Donate to causes that you believe in that help advocate for the rights of women such as the Time's Up defense initiative or Planned Parenthood.
How you celebrate is really up to you. Watch movies and documentaries on Netflix that showcase the empowerment of females or the untold stories of heroes, real and fictional. Read a book by your favorite female author or find a new favorite from the bookstore out of the thousands of influential female writers out there from Maya Angelou to Margaret Atwood to Claudia Rankine.
Or just honor the women in your life who have made an impact on you, whether it's your mother, aunt, grandmother, friend, girlfriend, wife, sister, daughter or neighbor. All of us have powerful women in our lives that have shaped who we have become today. Tell them thank you and treat them with the respect and admiration they deserve. That's something we should be doing every day, but this month is the time to start.
The Celebrity Cafe will be covering Women's History Month all throughout March. Make sure to come back and look to see lists on inspirational women, favorite directors, actresses and pioneers. We will also be doing profiles on some of the most inspirational women. Keep an eye out for Bios on Julia Child, Dorothea Dix, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ava DuVernay, Coco Chanel, Barbara Walters, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Jackie Kennedy, Marie Curie, Sojourner Truth, Elisabeth Cady Stanton, Gloria Steinem, Virginia Wolfe and Oprah Winfrey.
Happy National Women's History Month!