Historically, women have had to fight harder than men for the same respect and opportunities in life. Often, women’s intelligence and talent is disregarded based solely on their gender, and they are pushed aside. According to Business Insider, while many people today argue that women are now equal, the reality is that women make 81.6 cents to every dollar men make doing the same job, and only 8% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs.
According to the Women’s History Month website, Congress declared March Women’s History Month in 1987 to highlight the women who were ignored and whose inventions, ideas, and discoveries were rewritten or stolen to conceal the fact that these radical shifts in culture were made by women. This observance is very important because it is a time to celebrate the countless women who had to fight longer and harder to make their mark on the world and demonstrate endless possibilities to young girls.
The History Channel website shares the stories of many groundbreaking women and their impressive achievements. The website describes women in areas of government, like Congresswoman Barbara Jordan and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; radicals in social movements, like Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman III; pioneers in science, like Marie Curie and Chien Shung Wu; and top athletes in sports, like Billie Jean King and Jackie Joyner. These incredible women devoted their lives to their various causes, often with little recognition and great pushback when they expected equal pay for equal work. They still managed to push through and make great leaps in society undeterred by the hurdles placed before them. Women’s History Month is the perfect time to spotlight these women who had to fight so hard to break barriers in their fields and who are largely still ignored by the male-dominated history many people know. In many ways, and in many fields, women are still not equal. They are underrepresented and disrespected time and time again. This month illustrates the complexities for women that continue today in many areas of their lives.
Designating an entire month inspires people to stop and take a moment to learn more about important women throughout history in the same way men’s accomplishments are taught about and celebrated throughout the year. Additionally, Women’s History Month encourages businesses and schools to inform new generations of young people about the past contributions of women, motivating them to reach their full potential. For example, reading about women like research mathematician Katherine Johnson and realizing that, according to NASA’s website, without her the United States couldn’t have sent someone to space, allows young women to see themselves as scientists, musicians, politicians and much more.
It is often assumed that the history of space travel was mainly accomplished exclusively by men because this is much of what people read and are taught, but Johnson’s story paints a very different picture. It instead tells the story of a woman with a complex set of issues that can’t be narrowed down to pay or recognition. Like her, many women who may look “equal” to their male counterparts on the outside face hidden discrimination undeneath.
This month is the perfect time to educate yourself on the women who have been hidden by history and for young women to be inspired by their incredible accomplishments. It only takes a couple of minutes to look up some of these revolutionary women, many of whom were forced to constantly defend their intelligence, ideas and skill and be better, smarter and work harder in their fields in order to get recognition. Sometime during the month of March, it is important that each of us takes the time to learn about a couple of these women.