People have raised questions as to why women have a month dedicated to them. Some even argue that Women’s History Month is unnecessary.
The answer to these discussions is simple: Throughout history, the efforts of women have been belittled or overshadowed by others. Because of this, Women’s History Month was created to highlight the achievements of women that have impacted society today.
Originating as Women’s History Week, the celebration of women has grown over the years and has now become Women’s History Month, observed annually in March. The importance of Women’s History Month stems from the lack of discussions regarding the contributions women have made to society.
Over multiple decades, women have made significant discoveries and inventions, but were not given full credit for their findings. For example, Esther Lederberg, an American microbiologist, was one of the key figures studying microbial genetics in the twentieth century. She discovered the lambda phage, a bacteria that infects E. coli, and invented the replica plating technique. Without Esther’s findings, Joshua Lederberg, her husband, would not have been able to discover a bacteria that can mate and exchange genes, for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1958. Other women such as Rosalind Franklin, Lise Meitner, and Alice Ball, share similar stories to Esther Lederberg. Because of Women’s History Month, research regarding situations such as these is promoted further than it would be without it.
Despite the fact that women in the past have been overlooked, Women’s History Month has paved the way for advancements in societal equality for women. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, passed in 1978, banned “discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment.” In 1994, Congress adopted the Gender Equity in Education Act, which trains teachers in gender equity: “to nurture respect for gender diversity, eliminate gender discrimination, and advance genuine gender equality.” Along with laws passed to safeguard women’s rights, Women’s History Month has seen significant milestones in the actions of women. In January 2021, the United States swore in the first female Vice President, Kamala Harris.
Women’s History Month has been around for decades and has had a plethora of positive effects on everyone. It should continue to be celebrated throughout the United States and the world.