History of International Women’s Month

Photo “My Name is You” by Joey Lee

Michelle Obama once said, “ There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” Women’s history month represents the significance of historical events women have taken in the past towards creating a change in our present today. The magnitude of this month can be seen through the fight for women’s suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th century. In 2020, it was found that 63% of women voted, compared to 59.5% of men voting. The concept of International Women’s day was first celebrated in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, and Germany, though the adoption of this National holiday took place in 1977 by the UN. 

The Women’s Suffrage Parade took place on March 13, 1913, in Washington D.C. Women had been fighting for around 60 years, though this was their first national event towards gaining their rights. Women paraded the streets in a movement spearheaded by Alice Paul, the vocal leader of this movement and the National Woman Suffrage Association. his event was strategically timed the day before the inauguration of President-elect Woodrow Wilson. Though all spectators were not kind, as 100 women were hurt,they continued to complete the parade. This parade led to the Equal Rights Amendment being passed on March 22, 1972, guaranteeing equal legal rights of all citizens regardless of their gender. It was one of the first steps of women being treated as equals to men.

This month holds significance in uniting women activists from around the world. This month also improves education within school on gender equality in society, work, school, and in life generally. Additionally, society celebrates the  contributions women have made in arts, literature, science, math, politics, and medicine. This month and national day not only celebrate progress in society but brings light to issues we are still facing. The United Nations states that “ Women make up 70% of the world’s 1.3 people in poverty.” This is quite a concerning number, which even further emphasizes the importance of this national month. We have progressed significantly as now women make up 47% of the workplace, compared to the earlier times within our world when sexism in the workplace was heavily apparent, which prevented women from getting the same opportunities as men due to implicit biases. I am not saying that we are in a utopian society with perfection in the treatment of women, but we have significantly grown and progressed as a world in the past few decades. To celebrate, we can discuss our favorite influential women of history, educate ourselves on the challenges women and girls face around the world, celebrate women in our lives, and even donate to organizations that support women all around the world. So Happy Women’s Month to all the strong, amazing, and beautiful women out there! 

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