The contributions of women historically, politically, societally and culturally are honored around the world on March 8. From March 1 through March 31, the celebration of women continues with remembering the past and looking at the present and future women who stand for a purpose greater than themselves.
The celebration began in the early 1900s when the first International Women’s Day was held on March 8. During the late 1970s, the school district of Sonoma, California introduced a celebration highlighting women and their achievements. President Jimmy Carter would eventually make the week of March 8 National Women’s Week in the following decade; however, the celebration didn’t end there. March was declared Women’s National History Month after Congress decided to expand the observance in 1986.
“I feel proud to be a woman in today’s society because of the women who have altered the course of history for women today,” Haylie Ellison, journalism student, said.
Although women have made advances towards equality to men, they still face big obstacles.
According to History.com, “To coincide with Women’s History Month 2011, the White House issued a 50-year progress report on the status of women in the United States. It found that younger women are now more likely than their male counterparts to hold a college degree and that the number of men and women in the labor force has nearly equalized.”
Early this year, The Hill stated that “the new Congress set to take office in January is slated to be the most racially diverse in history.” However, women are still majorly underrepresented, consisting of only 19 percent in Congress yet making up 50.6 percent of America’s population as reported by Country Meters.
“I’m proud to be a woman, but I still think there are a lot of things to be done for women until they are truly an equal and celebrated part of society,” Karlee Paxton, elementary education student, said.
Wherever the current status of women’s equality stands, females can still be hopeful for the future.
According to Janell Fetterolf from Pew Research Center, “In a 2015 survey of 38 nations, majorities in all but one country (Burkina Faso) said it is somewhat or very important that women have the same rights as men in their society. And a median of 65% worldwide said these equal rights are very important.”
The holiday is most popularly celebrated with demonstrations, educational initiatives, customs and simple gifts of flowers.
A Day without a Woman and the International Women’s Strike are two efforts being made by women around the world. “The strike is planned and organized by women in more than 50 countries to promote issues facing women who are marginalized. Among them: gender violence, reproductive freedom, labor rights, environmental protections,” USA Today published.
On UCC’s campus, Women of the World will be performing on March 13 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Jacoby Auditorium. This performance includes original and folk music from around the world in almost 30 different languages. The Umpqua Symphony Association has organized the event. For information regarding ticket prices and more, contact (541) 236-2566.