March is Women’s History Month. It presents an opportune time to applaud the progress that’s been made as well as focus on what still needs to be done.
The National Women’s History Alliance
“Our history is our strength!”
Founded in 1985 by Molly Murphy MacGregor, Mary Ruthsdotter, Maria Cuevas, Paula Hammett, and Bette Morgan, The National Women’s History Alliance, formerly known as the National Women’s History Project, spearheaded efforts to acknowledge and celebrate the substantial contributions of women to history. The week of March 8th was designated as Women’s History Week because of their tenacity.
In 1987, the entire month of March was officially proclaimed Women’s History Month. The perpetual goal of the National Women’s History Alliance (NWHA) is to “make history”. The NWHA’s mission statement states the organization is “a leader in promoting Women’s History and is committed to the goals of education, empowerment, equality, and inclusion.”
The Collective Strength of Women
I didn’t know much about the origin of Women’s History Month, so I was eager to learn more. I am a ’70s baby, born in January 1976. Women have existed since the beginning of time, and yet Women’s History Month only officially came into existence some 30+ years ago. Wow!
Only recently have we intentionally and widely celebrated the accomplishments of women. Nevertheless, I am grateful for these five female visionaries who saw a need and dared to address it. While we have made considerable advances nationally and internationally, there is still so much work to be done–especially for women who are also mothers.
Motherhood: Real and Raw
According to the United States Census Bureau, there are 166 million females and 161 million males in the U.S. as of July 2018. When comparing the real median earnings between men and women, men earn $55,291 compared to $45,097 for women.
Statistics from Motherly’s 2019 State of Motherhood reflect some of the challenges of modern day motherhood. The data showed that:
- 85% of moms feel that society is unsupportive of mothers,
- gender equality remains elusive,
- the invisible workload of motherhood is a real thing, and
- American moms are the most stressed moms among their Western counterparts.
A Woman’s Worth
In their March 4, 2020, New York Times opinion piece, “Women’s Unpaid Labor is Worth $10,900,000,000,000,” Gus Wezerek and Kristen R. Ghodsee state that American women would have made $1.5 trillion in 2019 if they had earned minimum wage for all unpaid household chores and family caregiving tasks.
Globally, women would have earned $10.9 trillion for unpaid care work. Wow, again!
Time for a Paradigm Shift
My Wish List
- Three to six month paid family leave policies that allow parents to take care of their children without risk of job loss, fear of ridicule or retaliation, or economic insecurity
- Childcare subsidy or universal childcare
- More flexible work schedules to make it easier for parents to pick up and drop off for school and make it to school day events
- Equal pay
- Sick care for children with working parents
- Monthly stipend for stay-at-home moms
- A national wellness program for new and seasoned moms (biological, adoptive, foster care) that focuses on the health (physical, emotional, psychological) and well-being of women raising children. Such a program would provide support and meaningful connection for moms and could reduce the risk or severity of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders while educating and nurturing them.
Champion Our Rights
I challenge each of us reading this blog post to continue to champion the rights of women. Vote. Volunteer. Donate your money to organizations that fight tirelessly for the rights of women in the United States and across the globe. Let us not grow tired doing good work that benefits women, their families, and society!
“Here’s to strong women: may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.” — Unknown