Do You Take Women’s Rights for Granted?
March is Women’s History Month. It has been observed in the United States since 1987 to celebrate the various contributions by women to history, education, culture and society. The theme for 2012 is “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment”, which honors pioneering advocates who helped women gain access to advanced learning. Since I have been involved and working in higher education for the past decade, this is a significant theme for me.
I’ll be honest and admit that I have probably taken my right to education for granted. I cannot imagine being told that I was not allowed to go to the school of my choice, or pursue higher education, just because I am a woman. Yet, through many years women fought for equality, so that women like you and me could take a stand and have our voices heard. Thanks to women like Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, we have the right to vote, which was not allowed until 1920. That was the same year that the 19th Amendment giving American women the same rights as men, was ratified.
2012 celebrates women pioneers in education, like Emma Hart Willard, an early education pioneer, Charlotte Forten Grimke, an advocate for African Americans, or Annie Sullivan, an early disability educator, known for her work with Helen Keller. I am sure that they would love to know that as of 2011, “younger women are now more likely than their male counterparts to hold a college degree” (History.com).
All these determined women helped to lay a foundation for those by pursuing our right to vote, a higher degree, our own businesses, and ultimately our passions in life. For me, not only was I able to get my advanced degrees, but I was able to become a college instructor, which was a lifelong goal. I am so thankful for those that have come before me, for myself, but even more for my daughter, who will be able to pursue her life dreams one day as well.
I realize that I can no longer take these rights, which were fought for long and hard, for granted. So many women came before us with hopes to see a day when women would be treated equal. It isn’t perfect yet – but we have come a long way. My daughter is less than a year, but as she grows up, I want her to know women’s history, so that one day, she can create her own.
How do you celebrate women’s history? Have you taken your rights for granted, too?
More women in history: