Happy Women’s History Month!

It’s March 1st, and as many of you may be aware, that means today marks the start of Women’s History Month.  That’s right, women have been a long-forgotten group whose achievements and history get an entire month of consideration on our calendar.  So to kick it off, I wanted to share with you a brief list of Really Important Moments in Women’s History From The Last 100 Years

1916: Jeanette Rankin is the first woman elected to the US Congress

1920: The 19th amendment is ratified in the United States, granting women the right to vote for the first time

1925: Nellie Tayloe Ross is sworn in as the first woman governor in the United States

1942: Women’s services established by Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps

1960: FDA announces approval of oral contraception in the US

1963: Equal Pay Act passed by Congress

1965: Griswald v Connecticut determines that married couples can access contraception

1972: Title IX passes, banning sex discrimination in schools

1973: Roe v Wade overturns state laws banning abortion

1993: Supreme Court rules that sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal

1994: The International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo lays the groundwork for the international reproductive rights/women’s rights movement

Those are obviously just a few of the highlights.  Women have amassed an enormous list of accomplishments over the past century or so, and even before that.  Women have played incredibly important roles in governments, during wars, brokering peace, in the sciences, in the arts…and many important firsts are just taking place now.

What I want us to consider for a moment is WHY we have/need a Women’s History Month.  The answer is pretty simple: history has forgotten a lot of women.  The role that women have played in our various political, military, scientific and cultural endeavors has, in many cases, been under-discussed.  There are statues of men who have achieved all over this country, and all over the world, but far fewer women are remembered for their incredible achievements.

On top of that, women’s history is filled with struggles that are worthy of remembering.  Folks, suffragettes in the United States went to jail for their right to vote, but suffragettes in Britain died.  And that’s just the struggles that Western feminists have faced-~-African and Arab women have faced incredible barriers in their fight for equality.  The progress made by women over the course of the last hundred years is a testament to the human spirit, a testament to the courage and strength of countless women, many of whom will go unremembered by history.  The struggle for equality has been a long and hard one, and one that is far from over, both here at home and around the world.

This month, the Radical Idea will be honoring female activists and role models from across time and space, and discussing the sub-movements (suffrage, birth control, equal pay, the history of the equal rights amendment) that have helped shape feminism and women’s history.  Got suggestions?  Want to see particular issues featured on this blog?  Email us at radicalbutlogical@gmail.com

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~ by Randi Saunders on March 1, 2013.

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