Women’s Month boosts pride, celebrates progress

Annie Simon, staff writer

International Women’s Month gives women an incentive to show their pride and unity. It commemorates the history behind the women’s rights movement. We celebrate how far women have come and the freedoms we’ve gained.

Women’s Day was first declared in Russia on March 8, 1917, after women held a strike for “bread and peace.” The commemorative holiday was adopted by the United Nations in 1975; international women’s month continues to become better known. As its ideas spread, more respect is gained for women and our journey toward equality. Women have been taken seriously because they have taken action. The protests that have taken place have encouraged men to acknowledge women and their rights.

On Feb. 28, 1909, female garment workers in New York had a protest in an attempt to gain higher wages. This protest sparked other movements around the world and helped promote equality for women.

This year has seen a major shift in attitudes toward women’s rights, but a wage gap still exists. In 2015, women made 80 cents for every dollar men earned. Closing this gap seems harder than before the recent presidential election because of our new president’s views and disrespect toward women.

Americans had a strong female candidate for president last year. Hillary Clinton was close to winning the election this year, but lost to Donald Trump. This has only made women want to work harder to get more females in office.

The change in views towards women’s rights may encourage more females to take part in public office and be better represented.

Being part of the Women’s March that took place Jan. 21, was empowering to me. Women and men who shared pride in the progress toward equality surrounded me. I had never seen so many people taking a stand for what they believed in. We all shared similar thoughts: men have too much power over women’s choices. In a world filled with diversity, we are governed by a large majority of white males who cannot relate to the issues of other groups.

Dedicating a month to women’s achievements helps increase the knowledge of what Elizabeth Cady Stanton did. Stanton was a leading figure in the early women’s rights movement and advocated for women’s suffrage. A more recent figure for women’s rights, Malala Yousafzai, focuses on women’s education. These women and many others have helped get women to where they are today.

It is important for women to appreciate their history and women see that they can do anything. This creates a positive message about women and female rights. Women are stronger united. International Women’s Month helps extend the appreciation that I gained from participating in the Women’s March.         Equality starts with appreciation, and when people show their appreciation for each other, the world will be one step closer to equality.