"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it." - Maya Angelou
March is dedicated Women’s History Month. It is a time to celebrate women and their contributions and achievements in American history. As a female-founded company and with a high number of female employees, we are always happy to celebrate those who have paved the way for us.
HOW IT STARTED
In 1978, educators in the Santa Rosa, California, initiated a “Women’s History Week” to increase awareness of the contributions women have made to society. They selected March to correspond with International Women’s Day which is on March 8. This week gained a lot of attention and soon other communities started participating and doing their own special presentations to celebrate women.
The following year, a member of the group was asked to speak at Sara Lawrence College and share the success of “Women’s History Week.” It was decided by the college committee that they should try and initiate this celebration across more communities. They also supported trying to upgrade this small scale week to a larger scale and make it “National’s Women’s History Week.”
In 1980, a committee of women groups and historians lobbied for recognition of women in history. In February of the same year, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8th as National Women’s History Week. He stated, “too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well."
As the years followed, each President continued to support National Women’s History Week. With growing support, more classrooms around the United States started honoring this week by developing curriculum and contests to bring awareness to this growing celebration.
By 1986, 14 states had declared March as Women’s History Month. In 1987, with growing support across the United States, Congress declared the entire month of March as National Women’s History Month. Each year since, there has been an annual proclamation issued by each president designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”
WHY WE CELEBRATE
Women’s contributions to milestones in our history date back to the founding days of the United States, but they have long been overlooked and brushed aside. We celebrate Women’s History Month to spotlight these notable women figures and the accomplishments they, and other women since, have provided to our society, culture and history.
A FEW NOTABLE WOMEN IN US HISTORY
Hedy Lamarr is a well-known actress but not many know she helped co-invent a radio signaling device that was used during World War II. It would confuse and hinder enemies and is still a crucial part of how we wirelessly communicate today.
Margaret Sanger was the first to coin the term “birth control.” She did many great things to support women’s right but her biggest achievement was get the FDA to approve the first oral contraceptive.
Susan B. Anthony was a pioneer in the women’s suffrage movement and helped pave the way for the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote.
Sojourner Truth was one of the best-known human rights crusaders. She was the first black woman to sure a white man and win. She was African American evangelist, abolitionist, women’s rights activist who earned an audience with President Lincoln.
Sybil Ludington was just 16 when she rode 40 miles, more than twice the distance of Paul Revere, to warn that the British were coming. She rode from 9pm until dawn with nothing but a stick to fight off bandits.
Grace Hopper was a pioneer in computer technology and popularized the term “debugging” along with becoming one of the first programmers of computers. She earned a PhD in math from Yale in 1934, which was a rare accomplishment for anyone, but especially for a woman.
HOW YOU CAN CELEBRATE
Support women-owned businesses. Show your solidarity by shopping at these businesses. By doing so you are helping to break down walls so more can follow in their path.
Write a letter. Think of a woman that has inspired you in life and write her a letter thanking her for all that she has done. Acknowledgement for women can be overlooked so showing gratitude will be a meaningful gesture.
Have a girl’s lunch. It doesn’t have to be a big and grand event, but just getting together with special ladies in your life as a way to connect is meaningful.
Research a woman in history. Take one of the ladies mentioned above that you had maybe never heard of or search for one on your own and take time to learn about her. There are so many wonderful and amazing women who have paved the way for us today, give her the honor she deserves by devoting a little bit of your time to learn more about her.