Op Ed - Let's Celebrate Women in History!

March is National Women's History Month

Let’s celebrate women in history!

March is National Women’s History Month. Call your gal pals and go out to dinner to honor and remember the fabulous females of the past and present.

The 2019 Women’s History Month theme is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.”  The theme honors "women who have led efforts to end war, violence, and injustice and pioneered the use of nonviolence to change society."

In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th 1980 as National Women’s History Week. www.womenshistory.org/.

History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” www.womenshistorymonth.gov/.

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in commemorating the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

The 19th Amendment passed in 1920 giving women the right to vote. Organized efforts began in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention in New York. Organized by activists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, the convention started the women’s suffrage movement.

The Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative illuminates women’s pivotal roles in building and sustaining our country and will expand what we know of our shared history. www.womenshistory.si.edu/.

Women have made valuable contributions during wartime, both in the civilian and military realm. No matter what the role—military personnel, pilots, nurses, journalists, or factory workers—women’s experience of war remains an important and sometimes overlooked aspect of U.S. history. www.edsitement.neh.gov/.

“Women’s history is full of amazing stories of both ordinary and extraordinary people. Instead of revealing a singular “womanhood,” women’s history makes the diversity of the American experience more visible. While women often faced social constraints and could be restricted by conventional ideas about gender roles, the realities of women’s lives have never been neatly confined to the “domestic” spaces of the home. They have been active participants in American society—as political activists, intellectuals, innovators, entrepreneurs, laborers, and educators.” www.nps.gov/.

A round of applause for the women in America’s history.

The following poem I wrote is dedicated to the pioneer women of history:

Women of Resiliency                                                                         

Steel mind,

Bend me

And I straighten.


Iron spirit,

Melt me

And I solidify.


Granite soul,

Chip me

And I reconstruct.


Diamond nerves,

Crush me

And I radiate.


Ruby heart,

Pierce me

And I revive. 


Copper body,

Tarnish me

And I glisten.


Golden voice,

Silence me

And I speak louder.


Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, and educator. She lives in Ohio.

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