A time to recognize women

Published 1:54 pm Sunday, March 17, 2019

Did you know that March 8 was International Women’s Day? It’s okay if you didn’t. It’s not a holiday with widespread celebratory traditions like St. Patrick’s Day or Valentine’s Day, and it’s not a federal holiday that gives people a fun vacation day. It’s more like Earth Day, an occasion we vaguely acknowledge and probably forget about within 24 hours.

Did you also know that March is Women’s History Month? It’s okay if you didn’t. Any given month of the year is designated to recognize many different causes and important topics, so it’s not easy to keep up with them all.

I think both occasions, however, deserve a bit more attention. Women’s History Month focuses on the past as it shines a spotlight on pioneers who’ve come before us to do great things and pave the way for a better world. International Women’s Day celebrates the present and looks to the future as it encourages people to work towards gender equality all around the world.

As I’ve said many times before, it’s always good to have as much knowledge as possible. Here’s a bit more about each one, so we can acknowledge the contributions of women globally and right here at home.

International Women’s Day has been celebrated as far back as 1911. There is no single organization or country which is in charge of coordinating the day, so events are different all around the world. Many choose to devote their time every March 8 to efforts improving the gender gap in a variety of ways. Some march and protest against domestic violence and human trafficking and discrimination. Others coordinate recognition events for progress which is currently being made.

If nothing else, many people simply share thanks to the women who’ve made an impact on their lives.

UN Women, an entity within the United Nations, is one example of a group of people working towards gender equality, not just on International Women’s Day but all year long. You can read more about what they do at www.unwomen.org

Even though the future is important, it’s also vital to recognize women in the past who’ve made a difference, no matter how big or small. According to www.womenshistorymonth.gov the month of recognition is relatively recent, tracing its roots back to the 1980’s.

For history buffs, the website provides a treasure trove of links to interesting women and their accomplishments. You can read about anything from the history of “rangerettes” in the National Park Service to female spies in World War I.

Want to know about Amelia Earhart’s flight suit? There’s a link for that. Interested in reading about the plays of Zora Neale Hurston? There’s information about that too.

I’m not going to sit here and detail a few stories like I normally would. I want you to go to the Women’s History Month website and read it for yourself. There’s so much information to absorb out there. It never hurts to learn more about it.

I’m grateful there are so many women, both locally and all over the world, who strive to make things better for everyone. I’m glad I’ve grown up with and met many women over the years who have provided inspiration for me to try to always do my best. And I’m happy to support those people, not only during the month of March but all year long.

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at holly.taylor@r-cnews.com or by phone at 252-332-7206.