By: Carly Lester, Staff Writer
The fight for women’s rights in the United States is tough, and it’s not over yet. To recognize women’s struggle for equality and to celebrate their achievements, March is Women’s History Month. Since 1987, the President of the United States makes an annual proclamation formally designating March as Women’s History Month, and encourages Americans to observe and honor women’s accomplishments. The observation of these accomplishments, however, does not happen often.
Women’s History Month never seemed to become common knowledge, and even people who identify themselves as feminists were left in the dark. Special recognition for groups of people who have had to work for equality and representation are essential. If the month that the American people are called on to honor the female gender for their hard work and commitment to their families, friends, and country is overlooked, then something is wrong.
It is easy to see this in the disappointing lack of awareness in James River High School. As stated by Junior Lila Bryce, the founder of the Feminist Club, “You can do such tiny things to have a big effect,” which can really apply to this situation. Perhaps the Feminist Club might have taken more initiative and planned something for March, but Bryce herself didn’t even know that it was Women’s History Month.
And that is the root of our problem: the complete dismissal of Women’s History Month, making it seemingly nonexistent. “A lot of people are scared of change, so they don’t want it to change from the patriarchal environment to a more equal environment,” Bryce said. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Women’s History Month is not advertised as much as it should be. It is possible that men see this special month designated to the history of women as a threat to the social structure that already exists. Some people may even think that the Women’s Rights movement is over and there is no need for a special month. However, this is not true for many women are still dealing with oppression due to issues like the double standard between men and women, the wage gap, and body control.
Some institutions recognized Women’s History Month, like many museums in Washington D.C. and New York. They displayed exhibits dedicated to the accomplishments of women in the National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of American History, the Library of Congress, etc. Even then, the celebration in schools was sparse.
So, what is the solution to this problem? We can all start on a smaller scale when addressing the lack of participation and recognition of Women’s History Month and spread the word within the school. Hopefully next year, the Feminist Club will bring this month to the attention of the school, and anything they can do to celebrate, no matter how small that effort might be, it will definitely be appreciated.