Illustration by Kari Trail
In 1982, one week in the month of March was designated entirely to celebrating the women who had built this country. This celebration was created just 62 years after the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote. Five short years after Women’s History Week was established, President Ronald Reagen and Congress named the entire month of March “Women’s History Month,” in order to honor women that fought for their rights.
Women’s History Month means something different to everyone. For some, it’s a time to honor the women in our lives, as well as those we have lost: whether they were close friends, relatives, or women who lived generations before us, they fought so women could live the lives they live today. However, this month is also a time to continue and expand the conversation about gender inequality in the United States. Women use this month to shed light on the unfair treatment that has existed for centuries and still does today. Especially this year, there has been an uptake in violent actions against women. According to the Women’s UN, “globally, 35% of women have ever experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, or sexual violence by a non-partner.”
We wanted to see what Women’s History Month meant to our M-A students and staff. Senior Skylar Thomas expressed respect for all women when he said, “I don’t think we should only have a month to celebrate women. It should be every day and all year.” Another senior, A’marion McCoy, agreed with Thomas’ statement and added, “I am celebrating every woman in my life this month. But like Skylar said, I always admire and celebrate them.”
Freshman Aria Sokol defined this month as, “a month to recognize the amazing things women have accomplished.” She recognized how difficult it can be for women to achieve major success, and that the women that have achieved it had to work much harder than many of their male counterparts. Sokol pointed out some women who have achieved such success. She said, “I have celebrated Kamala Harris, Taylor Swift, and my mom extra this month because they all inspire me and worked so amazingly hard to get to this point in their lives.”
Psychology and Gender Studies teacher Lisa Otsuka was a senior in high school when Women’s History Week became a month. She said, “At a time when women still earn 78% of what men earn, I remind myself that we still have work to do. This month is an important reminder.” When speaking about ways to educate more students on the hardships that women still face today, she said, “I would like to see a class or seminar offered to all high school students to define consent in an age when sexual assault is all too prevalent. I know that Ms. Olson and I discuss these issues in Gender Studies and Psychology. I would like to see this class or seminar as a necessary prerequisite for all graduating students.”