Women and History
In 1981, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) co-sponsored a joint Congressional resolution proclaiming a national Women’s History Week. In 1987, Congress expanded the celebration to a month, and March was declared Women’s History Month.
Is it surprising to anyone that in a place where European exploration and settlement started in the early 1500’s, that it was almost 500 years before we formally recognized women’s place in our history? These proclamations were needed because in the late 20th century most research and writing still paid scant attention to women’s contributions to the formation and development of this nation and the world.
While women have throughout time contributed strongly to every social, scientific, economic, political, and artistic movement – particularly considering the barriers they faced in industry, academia, government, and daily life – recognition has been minimal. In 1972 when asked to name the women who had made significant contributions to America, the students in my 10th grade American History class could identify only one – Betsy Ross; and this was an AP class! I wonder what answer you would get today. Hopefully today’s youth and adults are more aware of the many, many women who have made life as we know it today possible.
A quick review of web sites supporting Women’s History Month provides a useful and illuminating look at the numerous women who have had a lasting impact on all of us. Please take the time to familiarize yourself, your children and grandchildren, and friends with the amazing women portrayed on these sites, take advantage of the resources they identify, add places like the Women’s Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, NY to your vacation plans, and support the efforts to build the National Women’s History Museum in Washington DC. And follow BCWAC on Facebook where we will post information throughout the month about a woman or girl who deserves her place in history.
www.nwhp.org (the National Women’s History Project)
https://www.nwhm.org/ (the National Women’s History Museum)
http://www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm (Women’s Right National Historical Park)
Ms. Bintliff-Ritchie is a retired Human Resources executive and Chair of the BCWAC Communications Committee.