Women’s History Month started as Women’s History Week, in Santa Rosa, California, as a way to celebrate women’s impact on American history.
The celebration, starting in 1978, spread across the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter recognized the week of March 8 as “National Women’s History Week.” Later, in 1987, Congress passed a bill stating that the month of March is “National Women’s History Month.”
Why celebrate though?
Not only does Women’s History Month (WHM) highlight the challenges women have overcome, but it gives a platform to issues women still face in America. While these issues are a yearlong feat, WHM is a time people truly listen and then can carry over these topics throughout the year.
But truly, why do we need to celebrate?
Liya Mekuria, a sophomore at LRHS, said: “It’s important to talk about what we overcame and how far we have to go.”
“In the past women have been looked down and seen as little to men, but we are essential,” said Ayla Bruer, a freshman at Leesville.
When asked about what fight she is passionate about in the gender equality movement, Rania Brown, sophomore at Leesville, says intersectionality. “[White women are] the first thing that comes to my mind.”
Brown further explains how white women were and are prioritized in the Women’s Suffrage Movement. “The only way we can fix that is to start recognizing women of color and queer woman as a part of woman’s history,” said Brown.
Merkuria said she only started hearing about women of color’s contribution to America and the Woman Suffrage Movement during June of 2020.
Bruer talked about the pay gap. “Even though it may seem minor to some people it is still a huge gap… and there’s latina women, black women, asian women [who face different struggles].”
The fight for equality for gender, race, religion, etc.– and combinations of these identities — will be long and hard, but recognizing what has happened for us to be here now, and where we need to be, is important.
Women’s History Month is a time for us to celebrate women throughout history and support current and future women.