From warriors of the Urartu period (as reported by Forbes) to athletes of today, from academicians and diplomats to politicians and human rights advocates, from publishers to scientists, from architects, mechanics, engineers and information technology to physicians, women across the globe have iconic groundbreakers who pushed boundaries, forced change and broke records.
The first day of March marks the onset of Women’s History Month in the United States and internationally. We dedicate 31 days to celebrate the often-overlooked contributions of women to history, culture and society. From First Lady Abigail Adams to suffragists Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton fighting for women’s right to vote; from abolitionists and women’s rights activists Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks; from Amelia Earhart to the rise of feminism and women’s rights as human rights by Hillary Clinton, the timeline of women’s history milestones stretches back to the founding of the United States. These women among so many others pushed boundaries, forced change, and paved the way for future generations.
The “backbone” to shaping recognition of women in history is Molly Murphy MacGregor, a high school history teacher who realized that the coverage of women in history was lacking in the books. She became determined to make a record of underrepresented women who created historical and monumental movements to make the world a better place. MacGregor set out to establish Women’s History Week in 1978 — a weeklong celebration hosted in California to educate others about women in history. The idea caught on within communities, school districts and organizations across the country, and in 1980, President Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. Seven years later, in 1987, Congress declared National Women’s History Week to expand the entire month of March.
Today, thirty-four years later, National Women’s History Month continues to be a major celebration and a developed grassroots movement among organizations that advocate for the inclusion of women figures in history. One such organization founded 30 years ago is the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA), a pioneer organization established by women and for women based on the premise of elevating women to reach their full potential through education, advocacy and change. AIWA truly and inclusively recognizes how important women have always been in society. I draw comfort, pride and courage from their vision and mission in elevating Armenian women, teaching as many people as possible about women’s role in history and encouraging the retelling of history to change the future.
What you can do?
Draw strength and inspiration from the women who came before you – and from those phenomenal women working among you today. They are part of your story.
- Thank a woman who inspires you.
- Read about women who have done badass things.
- Tell children about women’s leadership.
- Stop gossiping about other women.
- Lend a hand, lift, elevate and mentor.
Celebrate Women’s History month with pride, reassurance and courage.