OPINION: Women ‘March’ forward through Women’s History Month

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Local artists Taylor Carr and Jessica Kerr painted the mural of Ruth Bader Ginsburg located in downtown Manhattan in the alley between Poyntz and Houston. Oct. 27, 2020. (Archive photo by Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Women are a vital part of our country, today and historically — but they weren’t always thought of that way. Seen as inferior to men, women could not own property, work or vote for some time. However, women played a crucial role in the upbringing of our country and continue to play a pivotal role in its upkeep and future.

The celebration of women’s history originated as a week-long event started by the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women. During the week, presentations were given and students participated in essay contests. The idea was so popular among different communities that, in 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 as Women’s History Week. The week-long celebration was then established as a national celebration in 1981 and, in 1987, March was declared Women’s History Month.

Countless women have been trailblazers in our nation’s history. From politicians, authors and mothers alike, these women are just a few of the many.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Also known as “The Notorious R.B.G.,” Ginsburg was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Out of the 115 Supreme Court Justices in history, Ginsburg was one of five women to ever serve. She spent her tenure fighting for gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights and civil rights for immigrants.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo played a key role in the shaping of contemporary art. After contracting polio when she was young and suffering a bus crash at 18 years old, Frida spent much of her life in pain. However, her spirit would never cease. While in school, Kahlo experienced a political awakening and had an intense passion for Mexican identity. She found inspiration in her experiences, continuing to create art even as her body weakened.

Maya Angelou

Author of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” Angelou was a poet, activist, dancer, actor and journalist. A victim of childhood sexual abuse, Angelou found her voice through writing. It was while writing she began to inspire generations to come. Becoming involved in the Civil Rights Movement, Angelou worked with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. The success of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” an autobiography blended with literary fiction, launched her career as a bestselling author.

Kamala Harris

Lastly, Vice President Kamala Harris — the first female vice president and an accomplished lawyer. In her days as a lawyer, Kamala specialized in child sexual assault cases and fought for marriage equality, the Affordable Care Act and environmentalism.

March is dedicated as a month to not only support womens’ accomplishments but also support womens’ endeavors. Read books by female authors, support your local female artist, keep informed on current women’s rights issues and research women in politics. Not only are we supporting them through this, but it will keep you informed on who might become your favorite author or a politician you might vote into office. Women have fought for their rights, and March is a dedicated time to celebrate that, so celebrate the women in history and your life.

Ella Jung is a Collegian staff writer and a senior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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