March is Women’s History Month

The roles played by women began to change in a compelling way during, and after, the second World War. A great many women volunteered to join the war effort. Even more took over the jobs in mills and factories left vacant by men who had been drafted, or had enlisted.

Women WW2 envisioning the american dream

Picture credit: Envisioning The American Dream

Suddenly, women had more power, a greater world view than ever before.  The war transformed women in ways that could never be altered, and continues to evolve today. Women served as pilots, journalists, military personnel, and factory workers. Their contributions, as important facets of our history, are often overlooked.

The celebration of Women’s History Month began in 1981 when Congress requested the President to proclaim Women’s History Week beginning on 7th March 1982. Over the next few years resolutions were passed to proclaim March as a month of celebrations of Women’s History. Since 1995 Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama issued proclamations.

Without belittling such women as Jane Addams (1860-1935) and Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947), let’s look at just a few women who made contributions to our history, beginning in the twentieth century:

Mary Burnett Talbert (1866-1923) helped to found the Niagara Movement in 1905 and its successor, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Talbert worked tirelessly as an activist, fighting tirelessly for civil rights, women’s rights (including suffrage), protection of African-American children, and the teaching of African-American history. She challenged European and American imperialism and racism.

1 - Mary Burnett Talbert blackpast.org

Picture credit: Black Past

Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) opened the skies to women when she flew across the Atlantic Ocean. Her airplane disappeared in 1937 as she attempted to become the first person to fly around the world.

2 - Amelia Earhart NBC News

Picture credit: NBC News

Grace Hopper (1906-1992) invented one of the first easy-to-use computer languages, accelerating the field of computer programming.

3 - Grace Hopper Yale University

Picture credit: Yale University

Helen Keller (1880-1968) was stricken blind, deaf, and mute by a childhood disease. After much struggling, she evolved as an expert author and lecturer in the cause of others living with similar disabilities.

4 - Helen Keller History Extra

Picture credit: History Extra

Sandra Day O’Connor (1930- ) made way for women at every level of the legal profession when she was appointed the first woman Supreme Court Justice.

5 - Sandra Day OConnor Wisconsin Public Radio

Picture credit: Wisconsin Public Radio

Rosa Parks (1913-2005 ) refused to relinquish her seat to a white person in a crowded city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Her actions paved the way for the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a pillar of the Civil Rights Movement.

Rosa Parks - Sutori

Picture credit: Sutori

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) championed human rights as she worked to improve the causes of women, African-Americans, poor people, and the unemployed.

7 - Eleanor Roosevelt NPR

Picture credit: NPR

These are but a few examples of American women who have helped to advance our way of life. Their efforts have improved the lot of women in this country, yes, but all our lives are better because of them.

You, Dear Reader, undoubtedly know women who have changed history simply by doing what they think is right every day. Let’s all take every opportunity this month and every day going forward to thank the women in our lives for all they do.

Thanks for stopping by today! Since you’re surfing the ‘net anyway and you’re clearly a reader, why not pop over to Amazon and get a copy of New Yesterdays for your reading pleasure? Pick up extra copies for the young folk in your life. They’ll thank you for it and Ol’ Big Jim will too! Just click either of those highlighted links and, like magic, you’ll be off on a delightful adventure!

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About Ol' Big Jim

Ol' Big Jim, has been a storekeeper, an embalmer, a hospital orderly, a medical biller, and through it all, a teller of tall tales. Many of his stories, like his first book, New Yesterdays, are set in his hometown of Piedmont, Alabama. Since 2009 he has lived in the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Amman, Jordan where he spends his time trying to visit each one of the thousands of Ammani coffee shops and scribbling in his ever-present notebook.
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