Do we still need a Women's History Month?
When I was growing up in the 70s, my mother was increasingly active in the Women's Movement. She went to Consciousness Raising events, Guerrilla Comedy performances, and other activities. She made it a point to bring home her new-found knowledge and empowerment, making sure her two daughters were raised with pride and confidence in our female-ness. (I think she did a pretty good job.)
I remember going to the library and checking out all kinds of biographies, and I especially loved the stories about women in history. There were lots of biographies, but if I was looking for a story about women, I had to pretty much settle for Betsy Ross, Amelie Earhart, Marie Curie, Susan B. Anthony, and a handful of other women. And I had to search hard to find those few stories.
At home, I had the early issues of Ms. magazine to read, and that gave me other stories to read. And, I was that kid who would spend hours reading the encyclopedia. I read about everything, but occasionally would come across a new woman's story, and then spend time in the library trying to learn more.
I don't remember hearing about the beginning of history of Women's History Month, which actually started out as a week in 1978 in Sonoma County (represent!) designed to give more attention to the contributions of women to American history. But do I remember when women's groups were advocating the Congress to make it a national event in the late-80s, and how exciting it was when they finally did.
(I also remember all the backlash comments, "Why do we need a women's history month, but not a men's history, herp derp." I still see those comments, and I'm not going to debate them here.)
While this is a blog for self-rescuing princesses, and we celebrate our history year-round, I wanted to do something special for Women's History Month. So I've gathered lots of photos and stories and hope to publish a couple each day. (If there are any women you'd like to see featured, please leave a note in the comments.)
Even the women born in the 19th century and early 20th century are more likely to be famous for being actresses or musicians. Not that I have anything against entertainers, but it's not always the type of story I'm looking for.
And trying to find storied of women of color? Ai ai ai. That's a real challenge. I've been lucky that there are quite a few resources for Black History Month featuring black women. But in terms of finding stories of Asian American women I've had to get friendly with a bunch of different Asian American focused blogs, hoping to come across the rare story about women.
I'm not complaining, really.
OK, maybe a little. It shouldn't be this difficult to find stories of women. For being 50% of the population, we still only make a tiny bit of historical accounts.
And that is why, 25 years later, we still need a Women's History Month. And why it's especially appropriate that this year's theme is "Women's Education -- Women's Empowerment."