Updated: Apr 16, 2020
March is Women’s History Month, and it feels good to be writing this today. More women than ever are playing a strong role in our country’s progress. Read on to learn a little, celebrate a little, and maybe even find a great new woman-owned restaurant!
Brush up on a bit of Herstory
The 19th Amendment
History lovers will know that 2018 marks the 99th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. There’s a whole site dedicated to celebrating this momentous occasion in our country’s history.
You can also explore the the Library of Congress site for information about the 19th Amendment. But don’t stop at voting rights; there are so many more important milestones for women in America. You’ll see striking photographs, biographies of famous and not-so-famous American women, and lots of information on women in government. There’s even an interactive model of Amelia Earhart’s flight suit.
Walking and learning
For more on the historical perspective, you can also go on a walking tour hosted by the Friends of Mount Auburn in Cambridge. The docents will share the stories of some of their heroines in the beautiful Mount Auburn Cemetery. Register here for this event on March 24.
Tens of thousands of women lived in America before colonial times, and their strong voices persist to this day. Read this article for a primer on some extraordinary native women who have shaped American history. I was fascinated to learn that Alaska was the first state to outlaw racial discrimination, based on the work and advocacy of a Tlingit woman named Elizabeth Peratrovich.
What are women doing to shape history these days?
Running for office
In 1992, dubbed The Year of the Woman, the number of women in Congress doubled to 27. It tripled, from just 1 to 3, in the Senate.
But wait, there’s more! 2018 will see an exponential jump in women running for office. At last count, there were 500. The Story Exchange, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the entrepreneurial success of women of all backgrounds, has a fabulous page dedicated to women in politics. Get lost in some incredibly inspirational stories from both sides of the aisle.
Making delicious food
Go to a woman-owned restaurant this month. GrubHub has an interactive map called RestaurantHer that lists every known eatery in your neighborhood and beyond. You can even add to the map by submitting information on a place that’s not yet identified. It’s super-fun!
Running huge companies (but not very many)
A peek at some US Census statistics compiled in 2017 by Catalyst (an organization dedicated to “building workplaces that work for women”) tells us that women hold 5.2% of CEO positions at major companies. Let’s come back to this one in a few years and see what has changed.
Still earning less than men, no matter what the job
The US Department of Labor has put together a series of graphs that show the most popular jobs for women and men, and follows them with the median pay for each gender. In no case do women make more than men, and in only a small handful of cases do women have equal pay. There’s more work to be done here, too.
Celebrate Women’s History month by learning something new, supporting a woman who’s raising her voice in your community, and of course, by going to women-owned businesses. And hey—once you’ve gone on RestaurantHer and picked your next meal out, order a Bloody Mary (or if you prefer, a Shirley Temple) and drink to your favorite woman’s health!