She is both fierce and faint. As bold as she is beautiful. A captivating blend of true grit and a tender heart.
This is the modern day woman– she is neither one nor the other, but is whatever she wants to be at any given time.
It’s not that women have effortlessly evolved as a collective since Eve enjoyed the apple. Rather, generations of women have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into the fight for women’s rights. From Abigail Adams and Susan B. Anthony to Marsha P. Johnson and Ruth Bader Ginsberg, amongst countless others, the modern day woman can attribute her freedom to a long line of ladies that said “enough is enough”.
So what is Women’s History Month?
Women’s History Month has been acknowledged every March since 1987 to celebrate the amazing contributions of women to history, society, and culture. It was President Jimmy Carter that first presidentially declared the second week of March to be Women’s History Week in 1980. All thanks to the National Women’s History Project, Congress changed this week-long event to a month-long celebration almost 7 years later.
Today, the month of March is dedicated to showing respect and appreciation for the exceptional strength and beauty that is woman.
While we don’t need a holiday, an event, or a label to celebrate women, there is no better time than now to reflect on and showcase gratitude towards the ladies of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
6 Ways to Celebrate Women’s History Month
1. Educate yourself on the history of women’s rights.
Not sure how to take part in Women’s History Month? Consider it an opportunity to learn about the history of women’s rights.
Believe it or not, the story begins decades before the Civil War. At the same time that women’s suffrage was gaining its long deserved traction, anti-slavery organizations, religious reforms, and temperance leagues were simultaneously gaining momentum. Women played significant roles in many of these reform groups, contributing to society and culture long before they were accredited.
In 1984, the Seneca Falls Convention was organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. Gathered together in Seneca Falls, NY, a group of abolitionists activists united over the argument that women were in fact autonomous individuals that were deserving of political rights, amongst others.
Once the Civil War began, society’s focus shifted towards warfare and away from women’s rights. However, the loss of momentum never fully dwindled. Almost immediately after the war ended, American society began to consider the Constitution as a candidate for a facelift.
Questions around women’s suffrage and citizenship soon led to the ratification of the 14th and 15th amendments, which redefined the Constitution’s use of the word “citizen” to mean “male” and granted Black men the right to vote.
While the ratification of these amendments brought on positive change to American society, it excluded women, yet again. So, women’s suffrage advocates did what they did best and identified an opportunity to exhibit confidence and use their voice to push lawmakers just a bit further. Through creative protests and true resilience, they fought for universal suffrage in new and exciting ways.
As suffragists’ continued to advocate for what they believed, they had to be innovative and strategic to be heard. After years of fighting, it wasn’t until 1910 that individual states in the West began to welcome women the right to vote, all while states in the South and the East opted out.
Similar to the Civil War, World War I slowed down the momentum behind the movement for women’s suffrage. However, women’s ongoing contributions to the war effort highlighted that men were not the only patriots in the room.
It was then, on August 18th, 1920, over 100 years ago now, that the 19th Amendment was ratified and women were granted the right to vote. The following election, and every election since then, have welcomed the participation of women. This is all thanks to women, both those captured by history books and those who will forever be anonymous.
2. Familiarize yourself with the challenges women face today.
The grit of women suffragists that eventually granted all women the right to vote is not to overshadow the challenges that women still face today. To understand these challenges, it is important to understand intersectionality.
The Oxford Dictionary defines intersectionality as “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.” In simple terms, intersectionality highlights that people have complex identities, and that when someone has many oppressed identities, they experience multiple levels of discrimination and disadvantage.
Why does intersectionality matter and what does it have to do with the challenges that women face today? Well, it is everything. Despite having much common ground, white women face different challenges than Black women. Trans women face different challenges than women with disabilities. The overlap is endless and creates multiple variations of challenge that cannot be compiled into a list. From sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and other discriminatory practices, women everywhere experience adversity.
The best way to better understand these challenges is to accept all women and to be an ally. Talk to women, hire women, praise women, and be thankful for women, regardless of what month of the year it is.
3. Celebrate your body!
Are you a woman honoring Women’s History Month looking for a way to celebrate? Look no further. Your body, in all of its glory, is a work of art to be revered. Take the time today (and everyday) to appreciate your figure, from its functionality and its fragrance to its features and fertility. This can look like many things– pleasure yourself in familiar ways or explore new avenues for satisfaction.
The world is yours and your body is beautiful. Out of respect for the generations of women who had no say, no autonomy, and no understanding that their bodies were worthy, take a moment (or many) to love your own.
4. Post on social media to spread awareness.
As they say, empowered women, empower women. Social media is a great place to do just this. Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are all platforms that create a space for women to share, engage, and come together. Whether you like or re-share a woman’s post or make one of your own in lieu of Women’s History Month, do so with radiant positivity and proclamation that modern day ladies are deserving of life, love, and ongoing celebration.
5. Support female-owned businesses.
During Women’s History Month, make it a point to shop at female-owned businesses. While this is something you should be conscious of year round, there is always room to show a little extra love to the ladies. You can use this women owned business directory to find products that you are looking for that are sold by female-owned operations.
6. Ladies, treat yourself.
This month and every month, don’t forget to treat yourself, ladies. In a world that is constantly shifting, it is so important to take care of yourself. Be sure to take inventory of your wellbeing and check in regularly with your needs and desires.
Life is too short to wait for your moment. If you need just one reason to treat yourself like the deserving woman you are today, let this be it. Do what speaks to you.
Cook a nice meal and surround yourself with the ones you love the most? Absolutely.
Make that purchase you’ve been dying for? Do it, babe.
Celebrate your mind, body, and energy so that the world will see your worth? Don’t hesitate for a second.
Happy Women’s History Month to all of the lovely ladies out there. The Founding Mothers would be so proud.