The 1st of March marked the beginning of Womxn’s History Month, the celebration and recognition of the work womxn have done in the past and present. This started as Womxn’s History Week in 1982, and it became a “month” in 1987 after a petition from the National Womxn’s History Project. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Valiant Womxn of the Vote,” highlighting the 2020 presidential elections and the important role that womxn play in deciding the elections’ outcome.
In the midst of celebrating Womxn’s History, it is important to acknowledge the important roles womxn have played in history. There are many instances where without womxn, certain events wouldn’t have been possible. Andree Eugenie Adrienne de Jongh was a member of the Belgian Resistance during the Second World War. She organized and led the Comet Line to help allied soldiers and airmen escape from Belgium, which was occupied by the Nazis at the time. Between August 1941 and December 1942, Adrienne de Jongh escorted 118 people from Belgium to neutral Spain, where they were then transported to the United Kingdom. She was arrested by the Nazis in January 1943 and was imprisoned for the rest of World War II. After the war, she worked in leper hospitals in Africa. De Jongh was the recipient of the George Medal from the United Kingdom and the Medal of Freedom from the United States and many other awards for her service during WWII.
As a young girl, Malala Yousfazi defied the Taliban in Pakistan for their ideals against women’s education. From a young age, she loved learning and was passionate about girls’ access and rights to education. She spoke out a lot for it, which made her a target for those who believe women should not have the right to education. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 for her beliefs but survived to tell her story. In 2014, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and has since then been an advocate for girls’ education. (If you want to donate or learn more about her and her work, go to https://malala.org.)
Sojourner Truth was an African American abolitionist and women’s rights activist who was best known for a speech on racial inequalities including “Ain’t I a Woman?”, which was delivered spontaneously in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention. She was born into slavery but was able to escape with her infant daughter to freedom in 1826. She dedicated her life to the abolitionist cause and helped recruit Black troops for the Union Army. Although she began her career as an abolitionist, the reform causes she championed were varied, including prison reform, property rights, and universal suffrage. She achieved a lot in her life, including being the first black woman to successfully challenge a white man in an American court.
Womxn’s History Month is the time to educate oneself and others of the work womxn have done and continue to do. Take the time to appreciate the womxn in your life, whether they are celebrities, teachers or family members. From the Womxn’s History Month presentation delivered by WIG and Q-Club, to the lessons you learn in humanities, educate yourself through local resources and engage yourself in this global celebration!