Women’s History Month began as a week-long celebration in 1981 in response to effective advocacy by the National Women’s History Project. In 1987, a week became a month, and here we are in March reminded to consider the contributions of women and girls, even in contexts where the valuing of women has been anything but guaranteed.
This year, the official statement from the White House recognizing Women’s History Month reminds us that, “The full participation of women is a foundational tenet of democracy.” Women, and especially women of color, Jewish women and queer women, have long been on the frontlines of so many battles to secure equal rights and full participation in the U.S. The statement recounts many of these contributions, but goes on to soberly acknowledge that “despite significant progress, women and girls continue to face systemic barriers” that we all must take seriously and commit to standing firmly against.
I encourage you to set an intention to learn more about the history of diverse women’s leadership, not just in the U.S., but across the globe and often in remarkably challenging circumstances. We each encounter daily opportunities to choose to lift up and support the leadership of women and recognize women’s contributions in the many spaces where we learn, live, work, and play. Whatever you’re experience and identity, I hope you’ll recommit to doing so as we move through the month of March.