The brief look at accomplishments made by women

Daily Sundial

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I have always thought having a month dedicated to a group of people defeats the purpose of trying to foster equality among all groups. These groups are singled out one month per year, rather than our learning about them throughout the year.

This month is Women’s History Month. Though I may not agree with the concept of the month, it is important to gain some knowledge of women’s history and learn about some female firsts that even the biggest pessimist like me finds interesting.

Here is some information gathered from various websites:

— The female voice was heard.

In 1777, First Lady Abigail Smith Adams wrote that women should not be held to the same laws as the white man unless they are given a voice. In 1784, Hannah Adams expressed herself as she became the first female writer to financially support herself.

— Women were allowed to further their education.

In 1826, women were allowed to attend the first public high schools founded for girls in Boston and New York City. After this introduction of women into high schools, in 1833, Oberlin College in Ohio became the first U.S. college to accept men and women.

— Women were able to advance their careers.

Following in the footsteps of Elizabeth Blackwell, who was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, in 1849, women were legally allowed to practice medicine. Women also received licenses to practice law in 1868.

— Women strived for the right to vote.

In 1872, in an attempt to vote for Ulysses S. Grant as president, Anthony was arrested. After this attempt, in 1878, a Women’s Suffrage Amendment was introduced before Congress for the first time. In 1890, Wyoming became the first state in the country to allow women the right to vote. It was not until 1920 that the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified and women were given the right to vote in national elections.

— The feminist voice grew stronger.

Women pushed for more equality with the proposal of the Equal Rights Amendment, which made discrimination based on gender illegal. The late 1950s saw the introduction of the birth control pill, which gave women the freedom to engage in sexual activity without the possibility of pregnancy. In 1966, Betty Goldstein Friedan founded the National Organization for Women.

— Fictitious feminism portrayed in the media.

The 1960s Women’s Liberation Movement was illustrated in the media with negative images in an attempt to make feminism appear radical. Such false images included bra burning by women, which never happened. This rumor began after women protested the 1968 Miss America Pageant. They threw bras, pantihose, girdles and other garments that were designed to restrict them into trash cans. There were talks that these women would burn their garments, but according to many accounts, there were no fires set.

— The role of women today.

Women have come a long way since the days before voting was even possible, and though today, women are not thought of as such radical feminists, there is still a strong women’s movement. Women, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau, still make only 76 cents to a man’s $1, though they attain a high school and bachelor’s degrees at a higher rate than men.

Though I may not agree with these types of themed months, Women’s History Month gives women and men alike an opportunity to learn about the past struggles of women and the continuing hurdles for women in the quest for equality.