By Lucy Van Dyke 18′
Every March the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia celebrate and emphasize the historical contributions of women to society. This month is centered around International Women’s Day on March 8 and is meant to highlight women’s historical achievements to try to fight the enduring diminution of women’s accomplishments in society. By celebrating these successes, many hope women will eventually gain the worldwide respect and equality that they truly deserve.
On March 8, 1980, President Jimmy Carter created National Women’s History Week. He emphasized that due to gender inequality, women’s contributions and achievements often go unnoticed. He and many others believed it was necessary to dedicate a week to reminding everyone of various important historical accomplishments made by women. Of course the male president deemed a mere week an adequate amount of time! In 1987, the National Women’s History Project petitioned to prolong Carter’s Women’s History Week into a full month. Congress approved their petition declaring March National Women’s History Month.
Throughout the tri-school community, Women’s History Month is celebrated in various ways. This year, Gilman School had multiple speakers come throughout the month to discuss women’s rights issues, one being April Ryan. Ryan is a journalist who works as the White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks. Roland Park participated with a display in the Faissler Library, and several History and English classes dedicated time to speaking about the importance of this month.
Many question the value and importance of National Women’s Month and let it pass by without much thought because of the misconstrued idea that women are in fact completely equal to men. Despite the progress that has been made in countries like the United States, there are still inequalities that women face such as the wage gap and the medicinal research gender gap. Also, many societies and governments in various countries oppress women through harsh laws and strict social standards. For these reasons, taking time to uphold and discuss women’s value in society will hopefully pave the way for a future encompassed by gender equality.
Like many months dedicated to the celebration of marginalized communities, Women’s History Month should not end with the beginning of the next month. Although March is technically the only month set aside for the celebration of women, women have been active members of society since the beginning of time, and deserve the same amount of recognition. Although we are already well into April, women’s history is still in the making.