Evolution of Women’s History Month
Every March we recognize the accomplishments and sacrifices of women. It’s 2023, and while many strides have been made for women in the past few decades, the journey is not yet over. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and highlight important moments and the evolution of women’s history month.
One Day in 1909
It all began with one single day in 1909 when women took to the streets in New York City to demand better working conditions and the right to vote. The following year they again met on the streets of Manhattan to celebrate the first International Women’s’ Day. March also marks the passing the U.S. law, Title IX in 1972. Title IX protects people from sex discrimination in federal education programs.
First Women’s History Day
February 28, 1909, marked the first Woman’s History Day in New York City. It commemorated the one-year anniversary of the garment workers’ strikes when 15,000 women marched through lower Manhattan. Most of them were teen girls who worked 12-hour days in tight and unsafe factory conditions.. History.com describes it as a “true sweatshop.”
19th Amendment Not Equal to All Women
The 19th amendment granted women the right to vote and was signed into law on August 26, 1920. But at the time, a number of other laws prohibited Native American women, Black women, Asian American women, and Latinx women from voting, among others. It wasn’t until 1924 that Native women born in the United States were granted citizenship, allowing them to vote.
Finally – 1965 All Women Can Legally Vote
Even after 1924, Native women and other women of color were prevented from voting by state laws, such as poll taxes and literacy tests. It wasn’t until 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, that discriminatory tactics such as literacy tests were outlawed, and all women (finally) could vote.
Equal Credit – 1974
When you think about it, that wasn’t that long ago. Women couldn’t get credit cards in their own name until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 was passed. Legal work was done by the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who laid the foundation for the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, as well as many other basic rights women have today, including the ability to attend state-funded schools, protection from pregnancy discrimination at work, and the ability to serve on juries.
Women’s History Month began in 1987
In 1980, President Carter declared the week of March 8 Women’s History Week across the country. By 1986, 14 states had declared the entire month of March Women’s History Month. The following year (1987) Congress declared March Women’s History Month.
‘Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.’ -– Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Just remember what celebrity Betty White said, ‘The older you get, the better you get…. Unless you’re a banana.‘
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