Since March 1987, Women’s History Month has been celebrated across America. From International Women’s Day, which is held annually on March 8th, to the celebration of famous female suffragettes and proud feminists (male and female) who answered the call for women’s rights. This month’s significance stretches far beyond feminism, though. This month is a declaration of victory for all of the unacknowledged women across the globe. It is intended to honor the changes women have made, and continue to make, to the world as we know it. The STEM field is notorious for glossing over women who have made life so much easier, and yet were cheated out of their rightful place in history because of male co-workers who received the recognition as noted in the blockbuster hit “Hidden Figures.”
“The importance of Women’s History Month is also about lack and absence,” says JR Thorpe, a Bustle writer.
It’s not that women didn’t do many things throughout history, but historical records were written by males and only included women if they did something absolutely exceptional, like Eleanor of Aquitaine or Cleopatra. Another problem that contributed to this lack of feminine presence in “capital-H History” was the lack of women who were able to write and read. For most of history, women have been denied education, voting rights, and the right to own property.
Another reason to celebrate this month is its focus on a particular word: recognition. Women have done many great things (and even many awful things) in history, but recognition for these things are what make us equal humans, because all women should be remembered for their deeds, not their gender. Women like Boudicca led military forces; women like Sappho (a personal favorite of mine) composed serious and influential literature; women like Margaret Hamilton wrote code (BY HAND, no less) for the Apollo space mission. Many of these women aren’t saints or uncomplicated people, but neither were the men who had similar impacts. Recognition gives them the power of absolute humanity, which is what everyone deserves.
Finally, the last reason why Women’s History Month is important is that history will inspire the girls we raise to become strong, influential women. History teaches a powerful lesson: if we expose our children (yes, boys too) to the wonderful world women have helped build, there is a chance that one day, the fight for recognition will end. There is a chance sexism won’t exist in the future. There is a chance that every girl will be empowered to be who or what she wants to be, with no limitations because of her gender. That’s a future that is enhanced by the celebration and observance of Women’s History Month. And that’s a future that I would be happy to be a part of.