Published March 1, 2023
Today’s women run for office, start successful companies, and play professional sports. In fact, they do everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more. But it wasn’t always like that. Not so long ago, women couldn’t vote, own property, or even open a bank account. While white men were given those rights at birth, the women of history fought for them. During the month of March, we celebrate Women’s History Month in order to honor women’s struggles and achievements throughout the centuries—and to continue paving the way for the women of the present and future.
The History of Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month started all the way back in 1909, when Theresa Malkiel, a New York-based activist, held a celebration called National Women’s Day. That celebration quickly turned into an annual tradition and, by 1978, had snowballed into Women’s History Week. That expansion was so widely embraced that, by 1986, fourteen states were celebrating the week for an entire month. And after that custom began to sweep the nation, in 1987, Congress declared the month of March Women’s History Month.
The Importance of Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month, as Congress explained, is meant to “honor the extraordinary achievements of women.” But here’s why that’s so important: women haven’t always been celebrated. They’ve faced (and continue to face) discrimination in the workplace. They’re more likely to be victims of violent crimes. And they’ve been tasked with an unequal amount of household labor. Women’s History Month honors everything women have achieved in spite of those obstacles. It also calls attention to the fact that those obstacles still exist. And in doing so, it paves and easier road for the future generations of women.
Ways to Celebrate Women’s History Month
You can celebrate Women’s History Month in several different ways, but one of the most impactful is by sharing this tradition with your kids. So, here are just a few great ways to engage:
Teach Your Kids About the Women’s Rights Movement of the 1800’s
The first women’s movement in American history started all the way back in 1848. It was set in motion by two strong, independent women named Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. And their movement was a rousing success, ultimately earning women the right to vote. If you want to learn more, click here for A Mighty Girl’s list of books for kids and adults all about the US Suffrage Movement.
Learn About The Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960’s
The next major women’s rights movement in America was The Women’s Liberation Movement. During the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, feminist activism became incredibly popular, as women fought for their rights to birth control, equal rights in the workplace, and freedom from harassment. This movement put women’s rights in the national spotlight and led to more women going to college and grad school, getting jobs that were typically considered “men’s” work (like lawyers, professors, and doctors), and holding political offices.
Learn About Female Achievers
Women have always played a huge role in American history, but unfortunately, their contributions haven’t always been recognized. So, be sure to take a moment to learn about some influential women this month. Whether it’s Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, or Sacagawea, there are female role models in every phase of the game—share their stories with your kids! This article from The Daily Signal is a great place to start, and also be sure to check out the wonderful series of books, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, which also feature beautiful artwork by female artists from all over the world.
Support Today’s Women
Learning about women’s history is a great way to support the women of today. And you can do that in an even more direct way by supporting a female author, entrepreneur, or musician. Subscribe to a women-produced podcast, YouTube channel, or TikTok. Try out a women-run restaurant, shop, or tax-prep service. There’s a women-led venture around every corner, and this month is the perfect time to discover your favorites. Here are a few lists of Indy women-run businesses to get you started:
- Indy with Kids: 20 Women-Owned Businesses You Should Know
- Indy Maven: 12 Women-Owned Local Businesses You should Try
- National Association of Women Business Owners – Indianapolis
Women have already won the right to vote, but they still face lots of different social issues around the globe. Is there an issue that speaks to you here or overseas? Social issues can be deeply personal, so find one that speaks to you—show up to a march, share a fundraiser, and make a difference.
Become a Mentor
One of the best ways to make sure girls become strong, independent women is to lead by example and show them how to go after their dreams. So, think about finding a young woman in need of your mentorship, take her under your wing, and help her make her dreams become a reality. Mentorship is a great way to make a young woman feel seen, heard, and encouraged. Here are a few organizations you can get involved with if you want to take that extra step:
Educate Young Men
Do you have a husband, boyfriend, son, or nephew? A lot of change for women begins with educating and making allies of the men in your life. Do they know about the obstacles women used to face? Do they know about the obstacles women still face today? Do they know how to treat a woman with dignity and respect? The young men of today didn’t create these problems. But they can definitely help solve them.
You certainly don’t need to wait for the month of March to celebrate women. We encourage you to do that year-round. But March is Women’s History Month, so if you’d like to get in the spirit, teach your kids about women’s history, their challenges, and their achievements. Because changing the world begins with changing the way we think.Tags: women’s history month