Today (March 8) is International Women’s Day inside of Women’s History Month. It makes me incredibly moved and grateful to all the women, worldwide, who stood, sat, fought and spoke out for all of us to have rights, to have a voice, to be counted.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the suffragettes’ victory gaining women in the United States the right to vote. We have had the opportunity to have some influence over our lives governed by law ever since. In honoring that, we must also acknowledge that black women did not have the same freedom. It is important to note: according to the Wikipedia “The struggle for the vote did not end with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. In some Southern states, African-American women were unable to freely exercise their right to vote until the 1960s.”
Women continue to fight. The Gender Social Norms Index, which measures how social beliefs affect gender equality, was released by the United Nations Development Programme on March 5, 2020.
According to the report, “Almost 90 percent of men hold some form of bias against women. Surprisingly, 90% of women do, too. Despite the progress that has occurred in closing the equality gap, researchers found that people’s beliefs still negatively impact women’s rights and equality.” Our work is far from over.
I have spent hours today reading about women in history who made huge contributions to our society, many of which were not recognized. Women like:
- Lise Meitner was an Austrian-Swedish Jewish physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics and first discovered nuclear fission of uranium, yet her lab partner Otto Hahn took credit for her work. Let’s honor her.
- Three brilliant African-American women at NASA — Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson who were the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world. Only now are they receiving the recognition they deserve.
- The 53 female Nobel Prize Winners: Marie Curie was the first woman to be awarded in 1903 (Physics Prize), followed by Bertha von Suttner who was awarded in 1905 (Peace Prize) followed by 51 other amazing women.
- Rosa Parks for sitting down and refusing to give away her rights as a HUMAN BEING in the face of the segregated discriminatory views she was faced with.
- Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer, died in 1852.
- In 1953 DNA was discovered by Rosalind Franklin- yet credit was given to her male counterparts James Watson and Francis Crick. Let’s honor her.
- These 100 women who changed the world.
That is history. Today, what you and I are doing in whatever way we are doing it to make a positive difference in the world, to support and elevate one another, as women and celebrate each other is a true contribution.
Today, this week, this month- I celebrate every woman on the planet who is making it, making a difference, raising a family, contributing to society, working hard. This is the month we have the privilege of honoring ourselves and each other.
To quote Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Change the world. We can and we will.