Growing up, there was never really anything exciting about the month of March. We wore green on St. Patrick’s Day and ate mint chip ice-cream. That was it. Our family did not have birthdays to celebrate. Occasionally, we would celebrate Easter in March when it fell in March. Other than that, March was unremarkable. As an adult, I’ve come to associate the month with my Christian celebration of Lent and my dating anniversary with my hubs. In the last couple of years since becoming a parent and mother of daughters, I have another fabulous reason to be excited about March: Women’s History Month. How awesome is it to have a whole month dedicated to commemorating women’s contributions in American history!
When I was a child, attending school in the 80’s, women’s historical contributions to American society were never at the forefront. I learned about male scientists, male rulers, and male artists, etc. Women seemed to be kept in the background, relegated to supporting roles to their male counterparts (the supporting wife/mother, the secretary, the concubine, or the damsel in distress). Boys had a plethora of male role models. I did not. Naturally, I gravitated towards famous female artists and scientists, like Madonna, Sandra Day O’ Connor and Sally Ride. I wanted to be a badass just like them. Imagine how many more role models I would have had if women’s contributions had been celebrated sooner.
Nevertheless, I will take the celebration now versus never. As the mother of two daughters, Ilse and Alice, I want them to learn that there are just as many women who have contributed to American history as there have been men. I want my daughters to recognize that they have women role models for anything they want to do in life, no matter what the industry. In January, my daughters and I watched the Presidential inauguration together. As Kamala Harris was being sworn in as the Vice President of the United States, I got a little teary. How wonderful that a woman of color had been elected to the second highest office in American government! It still gives me chills just thinking about it. Women have come a long way, but there is still so much more to be done.
Thus, it is all the more important to celebrate women’s contributions to American society. At home, whenever my older daughter, Ilse, talks about what she wants to be when she grows up, I find a photo and info about a female professional who does just that. We read books by female authors, like Sandra Boynton and Joanna Cole. One of my favorite books to read to my daughters about famous historical women is the A is for Awesome!: 23 Iconic Women who changed the world by Eva Chen. The book features historical women from all over the world and their contributions. It isn’t enough to focus on women’s contributions to American history, as women have contributed to every country’s history.
Cheers to the women who have come before me and have shaped me. Cheers to the women who stand beside me. Cheers to the women that will one day succeed me. Every day we celebrate a woman’s contribution to society, we gain another role model, another woman to aspire to be. One day, the history books will feature women just as prominently as men.