According to History.com, Women’s History Month is dedicated to celebrating the work of American women in history, culture and society. It has been observed in March officially since 1987.
Women’s History Month started in 1978 as a week-long celebration organized by the Sonoma, California, school district. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. In 1987, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to make this event a full month.
‘Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories’: The Theme for Women’s History Month in 2023
Each year, there is a new theme to celebrate the diverse women of our past, present and future. The National Women’s History Alliance (formerly known as the National Women’s History Project – and established in 1980 by Molly Murphy MacGregor, Mary Ruthsdotter, Maria Cuevas, Paula Hammett and Bette Morgan) chose “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories” as this year’s theme for Women’s History Month. This theme celebrates women in media and storytelling.
The logo for Women’s History Month also celebrates certain women in the media and authors. They include:
- Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jovita Idar and Maya Angelou
- Gerda Lerner, Gloria Steinem, Winona La Duke and Lillian Hellman
- Betty Soskin, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein and Marjory Stoneman Douglas
Each one of these women are known for telling the story of women truthfully and with conviction. They were powerhouses that inspired generations of women to do better and be better.
Why Women’s History Month Inspires Me
If I had to describe my history as a woman, I would say the theme would be “Bent But Not Broken.” As I think about it, that statement describes women’s history as a whole.
Women throughout history have faced many adversities so that the women of today would have more opportunities. While there is still work to be done, women have broken down many walls.
As a storyteller by nature, I have been inspired by many of these women in my past. I have marveled in the way they used the power of a story that will resonate with people and invoke change.
Several of my recent podcasts have also featured women who have told “our story,” including:
- Caroline Simpson and Dr. Marie Harper discussing the work with the DEIB task force
- Marsha Guerrier discussing four pillars of success for women entrepreneurs
- Dr. Nicole S. Mason discussing steps to creating a more diverse and inclusive organization
I appreciate each of these women sharing their present-day stories of change with me and our podcast audience.
Also, the colors for Women’s History Month are based on the women’s suffrage movement and use three symbolic colors:
- Purple is for women’s suffrage
- Green is for hope
- White is for equality and freedom
There have also been times when I was underestimated by men or ignored in favor of men. Even when I fought back against unfair treatment, the treatment I endured was disregarded in my chosen profession.
After learning each color’s meaning, I realized the importance of each color and its meaning on my own journey through life. I remember the countless opportunities that I’ve had taken from me and the many times my opinions were summarily dismissed.
I remember the times when my hope was that someone else wouldn’t have to go through what I was going through. Hope remains the reason I keep fighting for equality in my situation. What may seem like the norm is not always right, and people have to stop turning a blind eye and start working for change.
How to Support Women
According to Good Good Good, there are several activities for celebrating Women’s History Month, such as:
- Supporting a woman-owned business
- Watching movies directed by women
- Reading books written by women
Then there are other activities that require more effort, such as:
- Amplifying the voices of women creators and influencers on social media
- Closing the STEM gender gap
- Increasing the mentorship opportunities for women
These examples are just a few ways of how you can celebrate Women’s History Month and empower women year round. Women have played a major part in America’s history, and we deserve to be recognized for all of our contributions. We deserve the same seats at the table as our male counterparts, yet that doesn’t happen.
Women are no longer waiting for the seats already created; instead, women are making their own tables and are inviting more women to join them. So to all the women of Women’s History Month – the women of the past, present, and future who make women’s history diverse and fruitful – I salute you!