March is Women’s History Month, which places the spotlight on women and celebrates their achievements. It is a time to recognize women breaking glass ceilings, beating down doors and pushing away barriers to progress. It is the month to raise awareness that women are growing in their determination not to let anything hold them back.
This month marks 30 years since Congress passed the law authorizing the establishment of Women’s History Week. It was not until 1987 that Congress voted to designate March as Women’s History Month and approved the president’s decision to proclaim it. Women did not need a designation or approval to make a difference in the U.S. or around the world. And 2020 proved to be an outstanding year of progress. Women assumed leadership roles in every sector previously denied them. Many did so despite additional barriers, including nationality, ethnicity, gender preference, age, disability, language, faith, or whatever issues others may have put in their way.
Some of these women are familiar, while others are not well known. Still, we celebrate them and name a few of them, including Kamala Harris, the first woman U.S. vice president. Sarah McBride, the first openly transgender woman elected to Congress. Jennifer King, first Black woman Washington Football Team NFL coach. Cori Bush, first Black woman representative to U.S. Congress from Missouri. Bianca Smith, the first Black woman pro baseball coach. Dr. Namandjé Bumpus, the first Black woman department chair at Johns Hopkins Medical School. NASA Astronaut Jeanette Epps, the first Black woman to join an International Space Station Crew. Nia DaCosta, the first Black woman to direct a Marvel Universe film. Tamara Moore, the first Black woman to serve as head coach of a men’s college basketball team. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first woman and first African director-general of the World Trade Organization. Rashida Jones, the first Black woman to run a major cable news network, namely MSNBC.
Where women are not pursuing positions for themselves but decide to organize on behalf of others, they win. Ask President Joe Biden.
With women leading, policies impacting women are expected to change, as well. It is partly the reason for them being there. Just as Black people don’t believe a blind eye should be given to public policy impacting Black people, women expect a gender-sensitive approach to public policies that affect women.
That’s why Women’s History Month matters.