Empowerment and appreciation during Women’s History Month

TIME+TO+CELEBRATE.+March+marks+the+official+month+honoring+women+and+their+achievements.+

Alexandra Cardwell

TIME TO CELEBRATE. March marks the official month honoring women and their achievements.

By celebrating women, sharing their stories, and changing perspectives, Women’s History Month offers a time for people of all gender identities the chance to recognize the women in their lives, current figures, and visionaries from the past.

March marks the month-long celebration, and students and faculty at St. Paul Academy and Summit School spend the time celebrating the women in their lives and educating themselves on the history of women’s rights and fights for equality. While the observance may only officially last 31 days, SPA tries to celebrate year-round.

The origins of Women’s History Month stem from the first Women’s History Week in 1978 which was organized by The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women to begin on Mar. 8. In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress designated the month of March 1987 as Women’s History Month and since 1995, each president has continued to declare the month of March as Women’s History Month.

Senior Sevy Hayes is the president of the HerSpace affinity group, a space for female-identifying students to connect and share common experiences. For Hayes, Women’s History Month offers a time to celebrate both the women in her life as well as influential figures who have fought in the struggle for gender equality. “It is […] a time to celebrate both the women that have made strides in getting more equality for women, but also [to celebrate] women in my life that I look up to and view as really strong and powerful,” Hayes said.

Co-President of the Action for Gender Equality club, senior Maggie Baxter also views the month as a time to recognize women who are often overlooked and to give their accomplishments and struggles a platform to be heard

I think Women’s History Month is a really good opportunity and important time to uplift women’s voices and narratives that are commonly left out of dominant history.”

— Maggie Baxter

“I think Women’s History Month is a really good opportunity and important time to uplift women’s voices and narratives that are commonly left out of dominant history,” Baxter said.

As a club, AGE uplifts women’s voices through its film series. Last month, the group showed three short documentaries about different women’s narratives from around the world. Baxter said, “I think that was a really great thing to do before Women’s History Month. [It was] a good event to do, and it was important to us to amplify women’s stories. And year-round, we try to do that as well.”

Junior Maya Sachs also celebrates by making sure to recognize women around the world and their impacts. “I think the importance of Women’s History Month is to remember all of the women who had amazing accomplishments throughout history that are not usually recognized and giving them some recognition,” Sachs said, “as well as empowering women right now.”

Recognizing Women’s History Month can be simple. Expressing appreciation for women’s accomplishments is just one of the many ways to celebrate. Hayes said, “I try to spend more time with [the women in my life] and try to recognize how grateful I am to have them.”

For Sachs, acknowledging the month entails self-education and reflection. “The way I [celebrate] is by reading books from multiple perspectives and not just examining things from a white male’s perspective, because that’s not always an accurate representation of history or current events,” Sachs said.

While it is important to celebrate women’s achievements and the progress that has been made, Hayes believes it is important to recognize what else must be done. “It is important to recognize the women in your life and be grateful for them, but also recognize how, yes, we have come far, but there are still a lot of things that could be improved,” she said.

One way to recognize and celebrate women is through the books in the upper school library. This month, the library staff presents a special display of important women’s literature. Additionally, Baxter recommends Period. End of Sentence, a documentary about women in India working to have more sustainable methods for dealing with menstruation. The fundamental gender film series is a collection of five different films aimed at disrupting the status quo and creating more equality for women.

During the month of March, it is important to remember that even the smallest actions play a key role in recognizing women’s achievements throughout history.