Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month is celebrated in March in many countries around the world. The month also coincides with International Women’s Day celebrated on March 8. Throughout this month, let us remember and honor women for their contributions to improving this world. In today’s post, I pay tribute to women of color for their accomplishments and achievements.
Throughout history, women have had a significant impact. Here are some of the many facts we all need to know about women’s rights –
July 1848– First convention on women’s rights
December 1869– Legislature passed in Wyoming granting women the right to vote and hold office
April 1917– First woman elected to Congress as a member of the House of Representatives
August 1920– The Susan B. Anthony amendment to the 19th amendment on the right to vote
December 1955– Launch of the civil rights movement by Rosa Parks
May 1960– The world’s first contraceptive pill has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
June 1963– The Equal Pay Act was passed by President Kennedy
July 1964– The Civil Rights Act passed by President Johnson
June 1972– Title IX of the education amendment adopted by President Nixon
January 1973– United States Supreme Court declares Constitution protects woman’s legal right to abortion
September 1994– Violence Against Women Act signed by President Clinton
January 2013– The US military takes the ban on women in combat positions.
January 2021– Kamala Harris becomes the first woman and the first woman of color to be Vice President of the United States
Women’s History Month has been celebrated in the United States since 1987. Previously, in 1982, the week beginning March 7 was proclaimed Women’s History Week. International Women’s Day, also celebrated in March, dates from 1911, and the UN has sponsored International Women’s Day since 1975.
For me, it is so difficult to choose which women to highlight in my article today because there are so many. Women in science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics, music, literature, social justice, etc. This post is a tribute to so many women that I have learned how to grow up and now have the opportunity to really talk about them. Read on to learn more about some of the many women who have had a huge impact on shaping our world.
Women of Color in STEAM
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.
Dr. Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman to go to space in 1993, when she took part in a nine-day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.
- Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927-2002)
She is the first Asian American woman elected to Congress. She is the co-author of the Title IX amendment of the Higher Education Amendment which prohibits discrimination based on sex.
She is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 17 and a Pakistani women’s education activist.
- Shakuntala Devi (1929-2013)
She was an Indian mathematician, writer and mental calculator, and earned her a place in the 1982 Guinness Book of Records.
- Kalpana Chawla (1961-2003)
She was the first woman of Indian descent to fly into space in 1997.
- Katherine Johnson (1918-2020)
She was an African-American space scientist and mathematician, and was a leading figure in American space history. She has made enormous contributions to American aeronautical and space programs.
- Anna May Wong (1905-1961)
She was the first Chinese-American movie star in Hollywood, as well as the first Chinese-American actress to gain international recognition.
- Annie Easley (1933-2011)
She was one of four African Americans who worked on the National Aeronautics Advisory Committee (NACA) and developed and implemented a code that led to the development of batteries used in hybrid cars.
She is a Pulitzer Prize nominated poet and civil rights activist who worked with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
- Barbara Jordan (1936-1996)
Barbara Jordan was a prominent politician and civil rights leader who was the first black woman from the South elected to the United States House of Representatives.
She is the first Latina Supreme Court judge in US history. She is also the third female judge in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States. Sotomayor continues to support women’s issues, criminal justice reform and legal immigration.
She is the first Muslim woman to represent the United States at the Olympics and she also won an Olympic medal.
She was the first black woman to start the civil rights movement in 1955 by refusing to give way to a white man on a bus.
- Grace Lee Boggs (1915-2015)
She was a prominent writer and activist, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, who worked hard during the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
She is a labor activist and co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association, and has advocated for the rights of immigrants and Latin Americans in the United States.
- Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997)
She was a Chinese-born and United States-trained physicist who helped the United States develop the atomic bomb during World War II.
She was a Japanese climber, author and teacher. She was the 36th person and the first woman to climb Everest.
She is a single mother, marathon runner, lawyer, and congresswoman from New Mexico, and one of the first two Native American women to be elected to the United States Congress in 2018.
- Maryam Mirzakhani (1977-2017)
She was an Iranian mathematician and math professor at Stanford. She won the quadrennial Fields Medal in 2014, the most prestigious award in mathematics.
- Kadambini Ganguly (1861-1923)
She was one of the first female graduates in Bangladesh and throughout the British Empire. She became the first female practitioner of Western medicine not only in India, but throughout South Asia.
- Alice Ball (1892-1916)
She was the first woman and the first African American to receive a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii and helped develop an effective treatment for leprosy disease.
She is a Native American poet, musician, playwright and author who received the United States Poet Laureate.
To conclude, history is filled with the names of women of color who have made an impact big and small in making this world a better place. Through trailblazing and leadership, some of these women paved the way for accomplishments even no man had made back then. As an educator, I know we need to nudge our daughters to pursue careers in STEM, but also let them know that being a leader and pursuing your passion in whatever interests you is vital. Let us all take a moment to remember all of the women of color, many of whom are unheard of, who have helped create this world we live in through advancements in various fields. Let us not only remember them this March, for Women’s History Month, but always in our hearts for their strength, persistence and hard work.
Dear readers, we would love to hear from you. Have you heard of these women? Who inspires you the most? Add more to this list to help raise awareness and honor them. You can comment below or send an email to [email protected]