Women’s History Month

13 March 2024

March is Women’s History Month. In March 1978, educators in Santa Rosa, California, first celebrated Women’s History Week, coinciding with Intentional Women’s Day on March 8. In the succeeding years, other states joined in the observance. In 1980 President Jimmy Carter officially declared Women’s History Week and in 1987 Congress passed a resolution declaring March as Women’s History Month. By 1986, 14 states had declared March as Women’s History Month and the following year Congress made the declaration national in perpetuity. International Women’s Day is still celebrated on March 8 as a separate but coordinated event.

Since 2014 there have been themes for each of these celebratory months. They range from:

  • Women who tell our stories
  • Women in public service and government
  • Champions of peace and non-violence
  • Women providing healing and promoting hope

In 2024 the theme is “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion”. This is an effort to embrace all viewpoints and lifestyles and to avoid any exclusions. It should be viewed as an opportunity to hear with an open mind and heart and appreciate differing points of view.

It is imperitive to realize that in supporting women, it is wholly unnecessary to diminish anyone else, including other genders or life choices. It is all about positive reinforcement while supporting each other as human beings.

womens history month

How to celebrate:

Pick a woman, any woman, and read about her life and adventures. So many to choose from like Sacagewea, Amelia Earhart, Madeleine Albright, Misty Copeland…and these are only women from our own country. If you want to venture futher afield look for Jane Goodall, various royalty across the continent, Marie Curie, and the list goes on. Choose someone for your book club discussion. Start at the Library of Congress research guide( https://guides.loc.gov/american-women)

If films are more in your style, try Hidden Figures (2016), Wonder Woman 1984 (directed by Patty Jenkins), A League of Their Own (directed by Penny Marshall); or go retro with: Baby Boom (1987 with Diane Keaton), His Girl Friday (1940 with Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant set in a New York newsroom), The Girl in White (1952 biopic of Emily Dunning Barringer, one of the world’s first female ambulance surgeons) or almost anything with Katharine Hepburn. Choose movies that were directed by women like Ida Lupino, Ava DuVernay.

Have a dance party. Even if you are alone in your living room. Choose song lyrics that are inspirational or melodies that are uplifting.

Check out the League of Women Voters. This is a group that does not support any candidate but encourages everyone to register and to vote. It works on local, state, and national levels.

Take care of yourself physically and mentally. That means setting up an appointment for a check up and mammogram.

Write a thank you note to a woman who greatly influenced your life. Even if she is no longer with us, pick up a pen and paper and put down words that are heartfelt.

Become a mentor. This can be an official designation through some local organization or school, or just start talking to some young lady that you see on a regular basis. It doesn’t have to be formal. If you are good at sports, become a coach or assistant. Check with your alma mater about possible connections or opportunities.

Read the companion article in this publication about special events in and around the Finger Lakes area to see what sounds good.

Women’s History Month is intended to celebrate the vital role of women in our country’s history and the contributions they have made to society and to inspire those who come after us. The entire nation can benefit from inclusion.

By the way, if you wondered if women had patron saints, here’s a list:

  • Business women – St. Margaret of Clitherow for her fearlessness
  • Women in the military – St. Joan of Arc
  • Women in science – Blessed Benedetta Bianchi Porro (As a child contracted polio and began going deaf in her teens, but only one year before completing her medical degree, she was diagnosed with Von Recklinghausen’s disease.)

Even if you do nothing special, just realize there is a sisterhood available.

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