As I thought about ideas and themes, grateful to be given an opportunity and platform to talk about Women’s History Month, I was nearly overwhelmed with where to start.
I thought about discussing the history of the celebration: originally having a *week* declared by President Carter in 1980, expanded to the month of March by Congress in 1987, and in all instances intended to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8. I thought I’d tell you how Women’s History Month is a legally declared national celebration honoring women’s contributions to history, culture, and society, and maybe add that I didn’t even know International Women’s Day existed until I met my Russian mother-in-law nearly two decades ago. Perhaps it was my mood – or, maybe it was the tribute I heard to Vernon Jordan on his passing, remembering his admonishment of President Carter that he wasn’t doing enough for the Black community – that made my shoulders tense at the second time I’ve thought this year (first in February, now again): “A month?”
So, I thought I’d be more specific and highlight famous women in history whose stories have had an impact on my life. But then I thought your emails are probably already flooded with newsletters and your social media feed inundated with stories about and quotes from Stacey Abrams, RBG, Rosa Parks, Gloria Steinem, Abigail Adams, Vice President Harris, or Sojourner Truth.
I moved on, thought I’d take the opportunity to thank the real women – family and friends – who have supported me, challenged me, and shown me the true power of women. Then, I realized that’s only slightly less trite than sending a rose bouquet meme via Facebook Messenger to “20 Women I Admire” and hoping they send it back.
What was my problem? I really am grateful to serve in a government role, supported by my fellow committeepersons, and given this platform. Then it hit me:
“We still think of a powerful man as born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.”
- Margaret Atwood
Dedicating less than 10% of a year to honor the contributions of people who make up more than 50% of the population? Singling out (sure, a mighty but few) women to quote without context or lived experiences? Sharing my special subset of (yes, totally amazing but personal) heroes? Each of these approaches still perpetrates the anomaly of powerful women. It isn’t enough.
Nearly 245 years old and having pulled from colonization to progress independently, the U.S. has seen a woman (of color!) for the first time as its Vice President. Women earn 81 cents to every dollar of their male counterparts. We have been disproportionately affected by a global pandemic that strikes without discrimination, yet women are leaving the workforce in droves and suffering acute stress of responsibilities we’d been led to believe were in a pristine state of “work-life balance.” (Oh, P.S.: frontline workers are overwhelmingly women.) Women are at a significantly higher risk than men of being the victims of domestic violence. And, you may remember the news from about a year ago that women running Fortune 500 Companies were at an all-time high of seven. Seven.
We have work to do. Celebrate those who fought and continue to work to make stellar contributions to society. Cherish the women in your life who are your personal heroes. Read the quotes, share the memes. But maybe this year we can do more.
- Serve on non-profit boards
- Speak up
- Be an advocate
- Run for office
- [insert here…]
Since 1995, every U.S. president has issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” The proclamations call for all Americans to celebrate women’s past and ongoing contributions to the United States.
Meh. Let’s stop reading for a month a year about women’s history. Let’s get out there every day and make herstory.
Be safe and maintain CDC guidelines but enjoy the outdoors in Voorhees!
** On-line registration for the 2021-2022 Voorhees Township Public School kindergarten full day program opened on March 1. Any child who will turn 5 on or before Oct. 1, 2021 is eligible for kindergarten admission in Sept. 2021. Beginning March 1, pre-registration can be completed at genesis.voorhees.k12.nj.us/genesis/openReg. After the pre-registration is completed, a staff member will contact for you for additional information.
** There are everyday heroes among us and each year the Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club honors some of them. This year, the Club’s Community Service Awards Program takes to video in its first virtual awards presentation. Please watch the 2020 Voorhees Breakfast Rotary Club’s Community Service Awards program honoring winners Chrissy Blizzard-Wrobel, The Food Bank of South Jersey, Helen Haley and Jordan Grabelle. Please take a few moments and watch the program at https://vimeo.com/514305277.
** Voorhees Township is offering discounted tickets to Morey’s Piers in Wildwood. Tickets are available in the Municipal Clerk’s Office at Voorhees Town Hall. Prices vary according to the type of ticket and several options are available to residents and non-residents. For more information about tickets, visit www.voorheesnj.com.