A Reflection on Women’s History Month
By Lily Rusk, Clarion Editor in Chief
The month of March, Women's History Month, is about celebrating women's achievements, but also about what women are still advocating for. This month of recognition was established in 1911 and means a lot to women not only worldwide but also in our community.
Joan Taylor, a French teacher at Kennedy, reflects on her experience as a female teacher saying she sees sexism in language and tries to point it out. The dress code at Kennedy has changed, allowing fewer restrictions, and she is glad that now it is not geared toward women's clothing. When she sees sexism around campus, she tries to intervene and thinks women still are disenfranchised but should be careful not to forget the work all the women in the past have done in support of women's rights.
The perspective of young women is another important point of view to consider, Junior Jo Ann Wilson says “a lot of people see women as objects… they don't see them as actual human beings''. For Wilson, Women’s History Month is about acknowledging women but it is not celebrated enough on campus.
Men also have a lot to say on the topic. Senior Kirti Ponusamy says that he has seen sexism around campus in the form of men confusing flirting with harassment. He didn't know that March was Women's History Month and thinks it should be more acknowledged around campus because “women need to be known for the things they go through and the things they struggle through on a daily basis that guys don't really go through.” To him, women's history month is about what women have done and what they still need to accomplish.
Women's history month started as a single day, international women's day. International women's day first took place on March 8, 1911. The idea came from Europe but was celebrated by many countries. That same month, educational initiatives took place along with more than 1 million people at rallies worldwide.
Over the years, there have been many notable strides for women's rights. In 1769, the colonies established that women could not own their own property or keep their own earnings. By 1900, some progress was made and married women were able to keep their own wages and property. In 1777, all states had passed laws formally denying women's right to vote but by 1920, the 19th amendment was passed providing women the right to vote. In 1916, Margaret Sanger opened a birth control clinic which became Planned Parenthood in 1942. In 1973, the Supreme Court made a ruling on Roe v. Wade which made abortion legal. Currently, many states are increasing regulations on abortion and Mississippi tried to get Roe v Wade overruled in the supreme court. As of 2020, the first female vice president was elected, and as of 2022, the first female of color was appointed to the supreme court.
Despite these strides, there is still a long way to go. Nationally women earn 78 cents to every dollar men make and in California women earn 87.6% of what men earn. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), over 1,000 public K-12 schools in the United States have single-sex education programs, many of which rely on discredited science and gender stereotypes. Women are also more likely to be victims of sexual assault including rape.
Women's sign connected to men's sign with women standing together, joining hands. Graphic by Lily Rusk, Clarion Editor in Chief.