Women’s History Month Honors Strides and Struggles Alike
Since 1995, the month of March has been designated to reflect on the contributions made to our society as well as the strides towards equality made by badass women, past and present.
We remember the sacrifices made by these women and the struggles they faced that allow us the rights we enjoy today.
The Women’s Rights Movement began in the United States with the first women’s rights convention held in Seneca Falls, N.Y. in July of 1848. 200 women came together demanding to be “represented in the government ” that they were taxed to support, while reevaluating the role of women in society. This convention sparked other women’s rights conventions that took place in the the following weeks propelling us into three waves of feminism.
During the first wave of feminism, which took place during the 19th and early 20th century, we watched women such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton marching for our right to vote. During the second wave, taking place from the 60’s to the 80’s, we watched women fighting for our sexual and reproductive rights. Today, in what is referred to as the third wave of feminism, we watch as women continue to tackle issues of gender inequality that continue to persist in patriarchal societies around the world, the United States included.
We acknowledge women like Malala Yousafzai, who continued her fight for women’s education in Pakistan despite multiple death threats and a murder attempt, which resulted in her being shot in the neck, by the Taliban. She is also the youngest person in history to receive a Nobel Prize at the age of 17.
We also acknowledge women like Angela Merkel, who, on top of having a PhD in Physical Chemistry, is the first female Chancellor of Germany and was named Forbes third most powerful person in the world in 2016.
During this month, along with recognizing the strides women have made, we recognize the issues that have yet to be overcome.
We recognize that there is still the issue of the gender wage gap with women earning an average of 80 cents for every dollar a man makes. According to AAUW, “at every level of academic achievement, women’s median earnings are less than men’s median earnings.”
We recognize that political representation is not equitable.
We recognize that women’s reproductive rights are constantly under threat. The state of Oklahoma, for example, is currently attempting to prohibit abortion in a bill that, while being a blatant attempt at control over a woman’s body, lacks consideration for victims of rape and incest.
We recognize that all women are different, and that different intersectionalities cause us to face different problems that need to be addressed as well.
We recognize the issues facing women of various geographical location, class and race such as child marriage, human trafficking, education, female genital mutilation, etc.
We must let the celebration of the amazing accomplishments made by amazing women inspire us to keep pushing. We must keep fighting for the rights of all women, all over the world.