Alas, it’s the third month of 2017, March, which means it’s officially Women’s History Month. Following the great success that was February’s Black History Month, hopes are high as we enter this 31-day period of female empowerment and love in remembrance of the impactful figures of the past.
Now, some of you may be wondering, what’s the origin of WHM? Well, let’s start from the beginning. Women’s History Month began as far back as March 8, 1857 with protests over working conditions (yes, that’s right, we’ve been advocating for female remembrance and empowerment since the 1800’s) in New York City. In the late 1900’s, the second week of March was finally, and officially, declared Women’s History Week, which then progressively became Women’s History Month. We’ve come a long way, ladies, and we deserve this.
To many uneducated conservatives, Women’s History Month is seen as a liberal’s excuse to complain. However, we as women have fought for our acceptance and equality, yet we still have a long way to go. According to statistics, an estimated 14% of active members in the U.S. armed forces today are women. That’s in comparison to the 2% female population of the U.S. military in 1950. As I said, and I’ll say it again forever on, we deserve this and we have fought for this progress.
As most know, Rosa Parks was an equal rights activist for both women and POC in the mid-1900’s, who refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Alabama.
She was then arrested for her actions. However, Parks wasn’t the first black woman to resist bus segregation in Montgomery, AL. 15-year-old Claudette Colvin was arrested on March 2, 1955 for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman after the bus driver demanded her to do so. It didn’t take long for police officers to arrive on the scene and “drag her off the bus in handcuffs.” Fortunately, Colvin then went on to be one of four black female plaintiffs in the supreme court case that effectively ended bus segregation. She was also then supported and advised by Rosa Parks herself. Claudette Colvin, to this day, is a representative figure of women, POC, and motivation that if you strive for what you believe is right, you can make changes to the unjust system.
As we “March” forward into this month of recognition for our female leaders of the past, be sure to educate yourself on the important figures that led us women to the place we are today. You’d be surprised to find how many powerful voices have been unrecognized within school curriculums and mainstream media. Treat yourself.