By Eustacia A. English – NRWA DEI Columnist
Happy Women’s History Month!
“She believed she could, so she did.” This short quote holds so much power and meaning. Nothing is too big or too small for women. Women can truly do anything, if they just believe.
Women’s History Month (WHM), observed since 1987, was created to highlight the often-overlooked contributions of women in United States history, culture, and society.
The 2022 theme for WHM is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” This theme is "both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history,” according to History.com.
While we celebrate women’s history for all of March, we also celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 each year. According to the University of London, “IWD was created to recognize the social, cultural, economic, and political achievements of women, to raise awareness of discrimination and bias, and to inspire and empower us all to take action for equality. This year’s timely theme is “Break the Bias.”
Breaking bias is everyone’s responsibility because we are all responsible for our thoughts and actions every single day. We can empower and break the bias in our communities, workplaces, schools, colleges, and universities. I look forward to the day when the world is free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination – a world where there is true women’s equality.
Now, what would this blog be if I didn’t acknowledge icons in history who have fought for equality and paved the way for me and all women? The following women are true trailblazers and helped shape the United States:
- Sojourner Truth was an African American abolitionist who fearlessly fought for gender and racial equality. In the 1860s, she often rode streetcars in Washington D.C. to promote desegregation and publicly protest racism.
- Susan B. Anthony was a social activist and icon in the early women's rights movement. She believed and stated that no more men should be allowed to vote until women and men of all races could also vote. She was arrested after she attempted to vote, and her trial led to the 19th Amendment.
- Ida B. Wells was a founding member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). After being born into slavery, Wells spent most of her life as a teacher and investigative reporter, documenting lynching and racial violence in the U.S. during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
- Frida Kahlo, an artist, was born in Coyocan, Mexico, in 1907. She used her art to express taboo subjects surrounding women such as abortion, miscarriage, birth, and breastfeeding, and to open up conversations.
- Simone de Beauvoir paved the way for modern feminism. In 1970, Beauvoir helped launch the French Women's Liberation Movement by signing the Manifesto of the 343, which argued for abortion rights.
- Yuri Kochiyama, a Japanese American, fought a lifelong battle against racism and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
- Dolores Huerta is a Mexican American labor leader and civil rights activist who fights for the rights of many, especially farmers and agricultural workers. She is the founder of the United Farm Workers of America and still fights for workers' rights, immigrants' rights, and women's rights.
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg used her Supreme Court seat to change the course of history. She served on the U.S. Supreme Court and was lead counsel for the ACLU Women's Rights Project. She was known for being the voice of all women.
- Sally Ride was the first American woman in space. She started Sally Ride Science, which helps to tackle misconceptions about women in STEM and to "inspire young people in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and to promote STEM literacy."
- Vice President Kamala Harris is the first woman to serve as vice president of the United States. She built her career for the people, has broken barriers, and continues to fight for working families.
This list is not inclusive of all the women who have paved the way. However, I encourage you to research and find those women leaders who continue to fight the good fight and make good trouble for women’s rights. To commemorate International Women’s Day, many people wear the official color of purple to stand in solidarity. Let us all do our part by breaking bias and helping fight for gender equality. As always, wishing you all continued peace, love, happiness, and blessings.
Eustacia English writes the Perspective column, which examines Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in resume writing and career strategy. She is a 20-year HR and talent acquisition veteran and started Resumes on Demand last year. She also writes on DEI for The Black in HR e-zine. She lives with her husband and two children in Cherry Hill, NJ. Find her online at LinkedIn.com/in/ecampbell05.