Women’s History Month: An Ode to Women Everywhere - Past, Present, and Future
There’s no doubt about it, celebrating women and the powerful forces we are deserves to be honoured year-round. We should always be championing the women who fought for us that are no longer with us, and the women who continue to fight for our rights today. March happens to be the one month out of the year that we praise the vital role women play in society around the world, and it’s a fantastic time to give a shout out to the women who have supported, motivated, and empowered us. March is the month where we can celebrate women everywhere. Whatever your background, wherever you’re from, whether you were born a woman or not, whatever your age, race, shape, or size, this month we celebrate you.
More women than ever have access to education, financial independence, and careers covering a range of industries, yet a lot still remains to be done to support women’s rights globally. Generations of courageous women who’ve come before us have paved the way so that women today can enjoy the same standard of living as men, but there’s still so far to go. When you think back to your history classes at school, the majority of prominent figures mentioned were (more likely than not) men. White straight men at that. Why don't the names of prominent historical women roll off of our tongues as easily as those of men? Because we’re simply not taught enough about them. We rarely hear about the work of women like Grace Hopper or Cecilia Payne, yet it’s women like these who have broken down barriers and pushed back against societal norms and the limits of what civilisation thinks women can do.
However you identify, whether that’s as a Cisgender woman, a transgender woman, or a transsexual woman - you’re a woman, no more no less. You matter. Leaders and activists like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera paved the way for transgender and gender non-conforming people, and what a journey that was. The infamous Stonewall Uprising of 1969 lasted six days, where police raided a gay bar in New York City (as they’d done many times before) and Johnson amongst many others decided they’d had enough and fought back. This was considered the beginning of the modern-day LGBTQ+ rights movement, the first Pride parade was held in June of the following year to remember the uprising. In the face of such an incredible and hard challenge, these women still advocated for their rights, changing the course of history along the way.
During Women’s History Month, we spend a lot of time highlighting women’s accomplishments of past and present, but there’s one area central to women’s history that we often forget - motherhood. The history of motherhood is essential to the history of women, yet during the month of March it’s something that gets overlooked and overshadowed. Of course we should honour women’s advancements in their careers and in society, but overlooking the sacrifices our mothers have made for hundreds of year’s undermines the importance of all the work they’ve done. Motherhood and the celebration of our mothers is vital for our existence, and our survival.
It feels like we’re coming into a new era of feminism and women’s empowerment, especially with movements like #MeToo. There’s no direct route to living in an equal society for all, no straight line to closing the gender pay gay or women having freedom of choice when it comes to their bodies. Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate ourselves and all of our female allies; our mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers, daughters, sisters, friends, Cis Women, transgender women, transsexual women - women in all of our power and glory. This is a time to support each other and strive to make the world a more equal place. Keep questioning, keep moving forward, and keep the conversation going.
Written by J'Nae Phillips