The battle for gender equality has come a long way, but even today—and even here in New England—there’s still a lot of work to be done. March celebrates Women’s History Month, a time to look back on the achievements of women in the past, learn from their efforts, and strive for even greater ones in the future.
March was officially designated as Women’s History Month in 1987 by a male-dominated Congress. According to the U.S. Library of Congress, this was made possible because of the activism, persuasion, and lobbying of the persistent women of the National Women’s History Project. This month, let’s celebrate what women—such as Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, and Maya Angelou—fought for. Together we can continue their legacy into the future by fighting and advocating for the issues that women face today. Nowhere are the challenges of contemporary reality more evident than in the chosen theme for 2019’s celebrations: ” Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.
Even in the 21st century, injustices are still enacted towards women—they don’t receive equal pay and their rights have been threatened. It’s time to build a better tomorrow. Here in New England, many women (and women’s organizations) have been fighting for the changes this country deserves, and if you’re looking to celebrate Women’s History Month by furthering the social justice causes of the present-day, here are some ways to get involved.
In 1966, Betty Friedan wrote three letters on a napkin—NOW. Since then, the National Organization for Women has become the nation’s largest grassroots feminist organization. In 1970, NOW demanded the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment. In the 1990s, they spent four years lobbying Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Act. Donate here, to help NOW work for future equality, reproductive rights, and LGBTQ rights.
Shatter the glass ceiling. The Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (MWPC) is an organization dedicated to getting more women of all ages and backgrounds into public office. Donate here, and help give this country the equal representation it needs.
Change starts with the young. To ensure a better future, we must first empower the next generation. Since 1942, Girls Incorporated of Lynn has worked to instill the young women it serves with the boost of self-confidence, knowledge, and independence they need to make a difference in the world. Volunteer with the local Lynn chapter of Girls Inc. to share your time and expertise.
In 1974, a social activist named Kip Tiernan saw New England women disguising themselves as men to get help from Boston homeless shelters. Tiernan changed that when he founded Rosie’s Place, the first women’s homeless shelter in the nation. Today, Rosie’s Place helps thousands of women a year find food, lodging, and help. Give your time, and volunteer at Rosie’s Place this month.
First created in 1989, the Boston’s Women’s Heritage Trail seeks to honor over 200 women who have played a role in the city’s history, and for centuries never received the credit they deserved. Take a tour through the trail, and learn more about Boston women such as Abigail Adams, Sophie Tucker, and Louisa May Alcott.
On March 28, attend the Women’s Leadership Forum in Boston’s Seaport, a day dedicated to how women are changing the world and disrupting the status quo. Some of this year’s speakers include Haben Girma, Global Inclusion Leader, Reyna Montoya, DACA recipient and social entrepreneur, and Ibtihaj Muhammad, US Olympic Medalist. Commit to attend today!