Friday, March 1, 2013

Women's History Month

What a dismaying title to the National Archives’
Pinterest board on the suffrage movement, created for
Women's History Month. Sigh.

Born this day in 1981: Women’s History Month, a formal acknowledgment of the role of women in U.S. history

It started in 1981 as a week, but eventually the acknowledging of women in American history was extended to an entire month! While I laud the efforts of those who want to shine a light on women in history, Women’s History Month, like African American History Month, also makes me mad because we go back to obscuring women (and African Americans) from our history the remaining 11 months of the year.
So use Women’s History Month as an good opportunity to learn something new about American history and women. Then go share what you learn, challenge stereotypes and myths, and demand accuracy and inclusion of all groups in the American story.

Women’s History Month is established annually by presidential proclamation. The first such proclamation (at that time for Women’s History Week) was made by President Ronald Reagan:
 “American women of every race, creed and ethnic background helped found and build our Nation in countless recorded and unrecorded ways. As pioneers, teachers, mothers, homemakers, soldiers, nurses and laborers, women played and continue to play a vital role in American economic, cultural and social life. In science, business, medicine, law, the arts and the home, women have made significant contributions to the growth and development of our land. Their diverse service is among America's most precious gifts.
As leaders in public affairs, American women not only worked to secure their own rights of suffrage and equal opportunity but also were principal advocates in the abolitionist, temperance, mental health reform, industrial labor and social reform movements, as well as the modern civil rights movement. Their dedication and commitment heightened awareness of our society's needs and accelerated our common efforts to meet those needs.
As volunteers, women have provided invaluable service and leadership in American charitable, philanthropic and cultural endeavors. And, as mothers and homemakers, they remain instrumental in preserving the cornerstone of our Nation's strength—the family.
In 1981, the Congress by joint resolution (P.L. 97-28, August 4, 1981) designated the week beginning March 7, 1982, as "Women's History Week" and asked the President to issue a proclamation to commemorate and encourage the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. In formally acknowledging the achievements of women, we honor a vital part of our common heritage.”

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