March is National Women's History Month, and as a grandmother, I believe I fully understand why we celebrate Women's History. What we need to remember is that the rights we have struggled to gain and the equality that we are still striving for as women, was not and is not an easy road. The journey has been long, and because women have a achieved a greater level of parity, it seems that there is no longer a struggle nor is there a need to remember how fortunate we are. This morning as my daughter drove us along Embarcadero on our way to Yick Wo Elementary School, my granddaughter asked if March was still African American History Month. My daughter answered, “No, February is over, but now we celebrate Women’s History Month.” My granddaughter wanted to know why we celebrate women’s history, and my first answer was, “Because for many, many years, women were left out of much of history. For a very long time, women were not allowed to vote, own property, or make a lot of decisions for themselves.”
The larger answer of course is bigger than that, and Women’s History Month serves the purpose (as does African American History month), of getting the dialogue open. It’s time to ask questions like those of my 6-year old Granddaughter. This month I will be writing a series of articles highlighting why we celebrate women and the progress we have made toward greater equality. I will also feature women who are contributing great gifts to humankind right now.
March 3, 2013 marked the 100-year anniversary of the women’s suffragists march on Washington. On that date, over 5000 women marched up Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. demanding the right to vote. They planned their demonstration to coincide with the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson. This march is considered one of the first civil rights demonstrations held in our nation’s capital. Learn more about how this event has been preserved in our memory through art, visit the American History’s exhibit on the women’s suffrage march.
The theme for this year’s Women’s History Month selected by The National Women’s History Project from a number of entrants, is:
Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Conceived by Debra Kolsrud of Johnstown, New York. Throughout the month, different women in these fields and others will be honored and featured in articles, events, and conversations throughout the country and the world.
What can you do to prepare for and participate fully in this month’s activities and discussions?
- Talk with your children and grandchildren’s teachers and school principals and administrators to find out what is planned to celebrate National Women’s History Month.
- Suggest that local television, radios, newspapers, and magazines feature stories and people who represent the roles and influence of women. Suggest they feature stories about teachers and other women active in schools, libraries, and other public institutions.
- Feature the motto, “Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination”
- Plan a reception, luncheon, or other event that honors women in your community.
- Invite women’s history performers from your state or region to perform at a special performance in your community. http://www.nwhp.org/whm/performers.php
- Invite special guest speakers. Artists, authors, politicians, entrepreneurs, university and college professors, and other women who love teaching and speaking about women’s status.
- Visit the National Women’s History Project’s website and read the President’s Proclamation for Women’s History Month and read about some of the women who are being featured this month (Hattie Elizabeth Alexander, pediatrician, Patricia Er Bath, ophthalmologist and inventor, Elizabeth Blackwell, physician, Kathleen Burr Blodgett, physicist and inventor, Edith Clarke, electrical engineer, Rita R. colwell, Molecular microbial ecologist and scientific Administrator, Dian Fossey, primatologist and naturalist, Susan A. Gerbi, molecular cell biologist, Helen Greiner, Mechanical engineer and roboticist, Grace Murray Hopper, computer scientist, Olga Frances Linares, anthropologist and archaelogist, Deborah Brosnan, scientist, explorer, activist, marine biologist and founder of SEI (Sustainable Ecosystems), Sea Shepherds, and the Brosnan Foundation.
- Consider inviting local artists, authors, performers, musicians, scientists to speak and present their work to your group. Local performers include:
Susan Victoria Blair
3168 Calistoga Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 Phone: 707-539-4352
Performance Description: Women of Grace. This presentation uses the imagery in quilts and the music of slave work songs and spirituals, as well as African-American women’s words to discuss the evolution of the African-American woman in American history and society. The first quilt represents symbols of African heritage used to embellish textiles and bedcovers. A second quilt is presented to illustrate the importance of the Underground Railroad and the women who made the escape to freedom possible for hundreds of enslaved people. The last quilt was created to show an evolution from slave to First Lady. The quilts are a backdrop honoring the dignity and grace of African American women. They also serve as a tool to begin to tell some of the story with emphasize on women like Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman and so many others. . Ms. Blair is a fabric artist, quilting teacher and continuing student of Women’s History. This presentation is of interest to school groups, civic and social organizations interested in women’s issues. Especially appropriate for Black History Month in February and National Women’s Month in March. Availability: Northern California
PO Box 12454, Oakland, CA 94604 Phone: 510-860-0998 Website: www.sassysusiebutler.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Performance Description: Sarah Vaughan - The Divine One! Sarah Vaughan (1924-1990) comes to life in this one-hour play. An evening of entertainment incorporates DVD telling the story of Sarah Vaughan's life in jazz music. Susie Butler is on the road just as Sarah Vaughan was in the 1950s. Appearances include: professional organizations, corporations, libraries, schools, colleges, jazz historical societies. Costumes, props, set pieces. Brochure available upon request. Availability: CA