Women are shattering the glass ceiling

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Women’s History Month is a time to acknowledge women in the past and present.

Muna Mohamed, Writer

Throughout history, women had to overcome a lot of problems. A society that actively placed men above women was in place. They had to fight to get their voice heard and get their issues addressed. Women lived in a world that underappreciated them and undervalued their advancements. Women’s History Month celebrates the contributions women have made in the world in the month of March. It is also a time to give women credit for everything they achieved and reflect on how much society has changed.

How Women’s History Month came about?

For Women’s History Month to become an official celebration a lot of change had to occur for Women in America. Women won the right to vote in 1920, the right to serve in the military in 1948 and got the right to equal pay in 1968. More than 60 years prior to Women’s History Month becoming official, many policies and laws were passed to make women more equal to men. In the article Women’s History Month 2021, it says, “In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. The U.S. Congress followed suit the next year, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration.”

The National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned for Congress to extend the celebration for the entire month, six years later. This is a major improvement from a single day of celebration to a whole month. March 8 is still considered International Women’s day. In the same article it says, “International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women, took place for the first time on March 8, 1911. Many countries around the world celebrate the holiday with demonstrations, educational initiatives and customs such as presenting women with gifts and flowers.” Many people use this day to show love and appreciation to all the women in their life.

International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women, took place for the first time on March 8, 1911.”

— Women's History Month 2021

Struggles women faced prior to the creation of Women’s History Month

Since the beginning of America, women were always second class citizens.  A lot of limitations were put on women on what they could or could not do. One major right women did not have was the right to vote. Even though the constitution never prohibited women from voting, it was a societal standard that they shouldn’t be allowed. Also, women weren’t allowed to serve in the military. The main cause for this was living in a world that operates on gender roles. The belief that certain jobs or activities are only meant for men, made it extremely difficult for women to become a part of it. Women even encountered struggles obtaining a credit card. According to Maire Claire Rights Women Didn’t Used to Have, it states, “ Unmarried women faced serious blocks getting credit, with banks being allowed to deny their application solely for their marital state up to the 1970s.

Married women could typically only get a credit card if her husband was willing to co-sign.” If women wanted to attend an Ivy league, they would have been denied. In that same article, it says, “Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania started accepting women in 1870 and 1876, respectively. Other Ivy League institutions didn’t follow suit until more than two decades after World War II, with Yale and Princeton starting to accept female students in 1969, and the rest doing the same over the next 12 years.” The problems women faced did not end there. Women were not allowed on jurors, could be fired for being pregnant and couldn’t report sexual assault in the workplace. Since Women started to fight back, they were able to create solutions to all those problems.

Accomplishments women have achieved

Many of the major problems Women faced were resolved through policies and laws. Women were able to gain the right to vote by adding the 19 Amendment in the constitution. Vice President Kamala Harris is a clear example of the progress women have made in politics. This action was a major stepping stone to getting women and men closer to being equal and having representation. 

The military shows how much women changed. In the article Amazing Achievements by Women Every Year for the Last 50 Years, it says, “Mary Clarke was the first woman to ever attain the rank of Major General in the U.S. Army in 1978. Prior to making history, Clarke served as the director of the Women’s Army Corps for three years until the service was dissolved and women were integrated into standard armed forces.” Despite women not being welcome in the military, Mary Clarke never let that slow her down. Sandra Day O’ Connor was the first woman to ever serve on the Supreme Court, this shows some advancements in the justice system since women were not able to even serve on a jury. O’Connor, opened the gates for more female justices like Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Coney Barett and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Furthermore, a lot of laws were passed that helped women gain more opportunities. In 1974, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act was passed and it made it illegal to deny women a credit card on the basis of gender. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 made it illegal to fire women for the sole purpose of being pregnant. Women were able to finally dream big and make a lasting impact on the world.

Women’s History Month is a time where women can finally be acknowledged for all the struggles they went through. This moment also celebrates everything that they accomplished and all the different types of obstacles they had to go through to get equality. The resilience and bravery of women in the past allowed a new generation of women to have more opportunities and dream big. Celebrating Women’s History Month each year helps remind people how drastically different life was like for women in the past compared to now. Women’s History Month is a reminder that fighting for equality will never go unrewarded.