Why You Should Celebrate Women’s History Month – A Timeline of Women’s Fight for Freedom
Women’s history month is celebrated every year in the month of March as a way of commemorating and remembering the success stories and achievements of notable women from the past, women who have substantially contributed to positively impacting our history. The fight for freedom, the fight for their basic rights, has been tough for women. Women from the past were not as privileged as we are right now.
Women were not even allowed to vote until 1920. Susan B. Anthony spent her entire life fighting for the rights of slaves and women. Many more women like her fought their way against toxic masculinity and the patriarchy so that the women of today could live in a world free of discrimination.
In 1776, the Declaration of Independence stated that “all men are created equal.” Abigail Adam’s husband worked towards establishing new laws in the country. The same year, following the release of the Declaration of Independence, she wrote to her husband in a letter that specifically focused the country to “Remember the Ladies,” because she wanted women to have more rights and more freedom under the new American Government. However, her husband responded blandly, “We know better than to repeal our Masculine systems,” and he also possessed the belief that women played a contributing role in society without any political power or basic human rights. Back in the days, this viewpoint influenced the way women spent their entire lives. Which revolved around being dutiful to their husbands and raising ethical sons.
In 1827, Sojourner Truth, an abolitionist, and a former slave delivered her infamous speech “Ain’t I a Woman?” at the Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. The speech went as follows, “And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man—when I could get it—and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne 13 children and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”
In 1848, the first women’s rights convention was arranged by women. The Seneca Falls Convention was organized in New York by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, along with 300 attendees. The 19th Amendment was passed which granted the women’s right to vote after thirty-two men and sixty-eight women signed the declaration of sentiment.
In 1849, a woman named Elizabeth Blackwell made history after being recognized as the very first woman to graduate from medical school in the United States and become a doctor. Although she was born and brought up in Bristol, England, Blackwell graduated with the highest exam scores in her entire class from the Geneva College in New York.
In 1916, Margaret Sanger launched her first clinic for birth control in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Her clinic was raided on October 26, 1916, because under the “Comstock laws,” it was deemed as illegal. Due to legal threats, Margaret Sanger had to close her clinic twice. However, in 1921, Sanger founded the American Birth Control League.
In 1917, an activist of the National Woman Suffrage Association, named Jeannette Rankin of Montana was the first woman elected as a member of Congress for the House of Representatives.
In 1921, Bessie Coleman became the first African American woman to hold a Pilot’s license and fly an airplane.
In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic nonstop.
In 1960, Rosa Parks inspired the launch of the civil rights movement when she refused to give up her seat to a white man on the bus in Montgomery.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed a law for the Equal Pay Act that strictly prohibited wage discrimination based on someone’s gender, allowing both men and women to perform the same duties in their respective roles and job duties.
In 1966, the author of The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan helped in finding the National Organization for Women.
In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman to travel to space as she flew in the Space Shuttle Challenger on June 18th.
In 1994, as a part of the Violent Crime Control, and Law Enforcement Act, Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act which helped provide program funds for helping the survivors of sexual assault, domestic abuse, rape, stalking, or other gender-related violence.
The aforementioned women and many more women like her have contributed towards fighting for women’s rights in history. In women’s history month, it is important that we reminisce their achievements and respect the sacrifices they’ve made so their future generation could live in a world free from sexism and discrimination. It is important that we use the month of March to honor the brave souls of women long gone, whose impacts are still felt today.
Eman Khalid is a writer, editor, storyteller, and a journalist. She has been a co-author of more than twenty poetry books. She is a contributing writer to the Women's Republic, the Meraki Magazine, Litlight Magazine, Prosart Literary, Kitaab, StoryHouse UK, and The LATEST. Eman is an English Language and Literature major and she has a deep passion for reading about inspirational women from the past. When she is not writing, you will find her reading poetry, listening to songs, and taking long walks at the beach.
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