Women's History Month: Making History Now
My first few years in college were spent in thought about my future goals. I thought about becoming a lawyer, I thought about working in a museum, I thought about going into counseling. At some point, I thought about majoring in history. Finally, I declared myself a history major.
I wasn’t sure how I would apply this major to my career path, but I knew I loved history. I loved the stories the history books told. I loved listening to passionate history professors teach about the Civil War; their telling of history ignited a fiery excitement inside of me.
I spent two years as a history major. However, as time went on, I realized I was destined to be a counselor and I changed my major to psychology with a minor in history. For years, I did nothing with all of the historic stories I had stored up – until two years ago when I started Grace & Grit Box, using the stories of women in history to empower the girls of today. Now Women’s History Month in March is my month to stoke the passions of my collegiate past and pretend I am a history student once again.
There is no denying that history repeats itself. Case in point: the women’s movement. We saw its infancy in the mid-1800s through the early 1900s. It rose again in the 1970s and now, in 2017 and 2018, there has been a fervent resurgence. So, as I sit down to write about Women’s History Month, I cannot help but feel women’s history is happening right now – and I need to know if our daughters see this and understand the significance of history revealing itself right now, in front of our eyes.
Every day we see it, plastered across social media and the news: we see the rising of women, we hear their voices, we see their hashtags. The women of the 1800s wanted to be seen and recognized as people with ideas and intellect, the women in the early 1900s wanted the right to vote, 1970s was the decade of fighting to work and to be equal in the boardroom, and now – in 2017/2018 – we are fighting for pay equality and for the end of all the harassment women endured as they fought their way up. Their collective hashtag, #metoo, is now in the history books.
Today’s women’s protest marches are historic, with the voices carrying the familiar ring of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Stanton and Alice Paul. Policy changes that support equal pay and zero tolerance for harassment are being written in ink and, this time, the male voices of support are louder and clearer. All of this history in the making is rich and thick. Oh, to be a history teacher right now in a room full of female students – to be the one who is speaking with passion and pointing out the similarities throughout the decades.
Girls, the history you learned about from the 1900s is repeating itself at a whole new level. Now is the time to sit up, pay attention and take notes. Learn and appreciate the moment. Although empowering, this moment is also hard – watching women relive the hurts they worked so hard to push down. It is up to us to support them and try to fully understand the value of watching history unfold in the present.
This is the moment, ladies – history is right here and now! It’s humbling and awesome to witness. Sit up tall and, if you feel so inclined, raise your voices and encourage your daughters to do the same. Can you hear the cheering from up above? Sojourner Truth, Sarah Grimke and Harriet Tubman are calling their support down to us. The sky is once again being held up by women in history, only this time, history is now. The women are your neighbors, coworkers, friends and family members. Some of them are our history teachers, igniting a passion in our girls. And one of our girls is going to feel that fiery excitement and realize she is meant to be a history major through and through. History will repeat itself.