Women's History Month
For centuries, women have experienced the oppressive force of the patriarchy where men have dominated society. In the patriarchal society, women weren’t given the same opportunities as men. No matter how women put in their efforts to do the same things as men, they never get the same rights and opportunities as men do. This began to change during the early 1900s. Throughout this article, you will learn more about women’s history and its importance.
North Carolina Central University
By Hanni Yang
Published March 05, 2022
Women’s Suffrage Movement
In history, there are many events where women fought for their rights and freedom. Women used their freedom of speech to promote their rights. A great example of this would be the Women’s Suffrage Movement.
The Women's Suffrage Movement was a decade-long dispute for women in the United States to have the right to vote. Historians called women the “Cult of True Womanhood” meaning that a “responsible” woman should be a sincere, accommodating wife and mother who should only solicit families and their home. Their statement caused many American women to feel resentful which also planted the seeds of resistance in womens’ hearts.
A group of abolitionist activists including a minority of men in Seneca Falls, New York was having a discussion about women’s rights. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the founder of the National Woman Suffrage Association established later in 1869, and other activists agreed with a statement that “American women were autonomous individuals who deserved their own political identities.” In the process of women fighting against the United States government for their rights, the women's rights movement lost recognition as the Civil War began during the 1950s.
In 1869, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony decided to fight for women’s rights by creating an organization called the National Woman Suffrage Association, however, many disagreed that it was unfair to let black suffrage connect with the inconspicuous women’s suffrage movement. But comments on women went different over time.
The new generation stated that women can turn family life into a political virtue, using privilege to create a purer and more moral "maternal commonwealth." A lot of white people and temperance advocates began to vacillate their ideas about women’s rights.
Starting in the early twentieth century, many states provided rights to women. States such as Idaho and Utah already allowed women to vote by the end of the nineteen century and many other states began to follow suit soon after. Although World War I slowed the women’s suffrage movement, it helped women work towards advancing their arguments.
Ultimately, the arrival of the 19th Amendment brought success to women on August 18, 1920. Women finally have the right to vote.
What Began Women’s History Month?
March is considered Women's History Month due to a myth that was spread in folk circles. On March 8, 1857, a group of female garment workers in New York City went on strike because they had received harassment from police. Later, women from multiple factories banded together to demand better working conditions and voting rights. The group eventually formed its own union.
However, the myth was nothing but a myth. This myth was debunked in the late 1970s by the historian Francoise Picq, who explained that the strike never occurred until 1857. The truth is that the idea of International Women's Day was first developed in 1910 at the Second International Socialist Women's Congress. German activist, Clara Zetkin, wanted to share the story of Women’s rights with society. In 1921, Zetkin recommended the date March 8 to be dedicated to the workers' strike in Petrograd on that day in 1917. Soon after, the concept of celebrating Women's Day became popular in Europe.
By the 1970s, American feminist groups were extended the International Women's Day as Women's History Week in an effort to expand women's history in schools. In 1975, the UN officially launched the annual International Women's Day celebration. However, as more groups began celebrating the full week and persuaded people to establish a Women's History Week — President Jimmy Carter nominated the first National Women's History Week, the week that included March 8, 1980.
By 1986, 14 states had designated March as Women's History Month and in 1987, the U.S. Congress made Women's History Month a federally recognized annual observance.
Why Do We Need to Acknowledge and Celebrate the History of Women?
As TYWLS students, we should remember the women and their history that allowed us to have equal rights today. Their efforts cannot be let down and we want to continue the women's history legacy by letting everyone acknowledge women on the same level as men.
Caitlin McCaffrey & Yana Garbarg
Why do we need a special month to honor women?
Caitlin M: We should have at least six months to celebrate for women. We use months to remind us of the people who face inequities and women fall into that category.
Yana: Women have been making history as long as they have existed. But unfortunately, their achievements have not always been recognized. It is important for us to celebrate women’s history month to recognize the different contributions of different women.
Why should TYWLS celebrate Women’s History?
Caitlin M: The majority of our student population identifies as women or gender nonconforming. It should be celebrated.
Yana: TYWLS should celebrate women’s history month to show how women fight for their equality and to see how far we need to go.
What can TYWLS do to help women obtain equality?
Caitlin M: To provide students with the tools needed to make their voices heard.
Yana: TYWLS can teach our students how to use their voice, talents, passions, and experiences to achieve their goals and to fight for people whose voices may not be heard.