Why Women’s History Month matters

March 13, 2017 8:29 am

Women’s History Month is a great way to honor and remember women’s contributions to society and history.

It is a time to learn about Women’s History, to discuss and honor brave women who were willing to stand out and break from the chains of what were the so called proper, traditional roles for women.

It’s about honoring women who fought for basic human rights because without them women including myself wouldn’t be able to sit in a college classroom or pursue professional opportunities.

It also serves to recognize the struggles and years of work women went through to fight for equal pay, equal opportunities, right to suffrage and equal rights.

It’s an opportunity to acknowledge how far women have come along but to also remember that gender discrimination and gender inequalities are battles that are continuing the exemplary example of that was the Women’s March back in January.

Sex discrimination and inequalities between genders are something women in the contemporary world experience in many aspects of their lives.

This includes present inequalities and gender discriminations such as the wage gap, unpaid labor, discrimination in the workplace, sexual harassment and violence.

The Women’s History Month Program chairwoman, Professor Lynn Hawley, said she believes inequality is a present issue commonly seen in work environments and in wages.

“This is something that you can see in terms of oftentimes in job environments women encounter, the expectation that women will do the majority of the unpaid labor is another issue, pay gap, wages and unequal wages is getting better but still exist,” said Hawley.

The gender pay gap is probably the problem given the most attention, but the assumption women have to do all the unpaid labor in the work place is another main problem.

Moreover, violence towards women and harassment are other ways women experience discrimination and inequalities.

Hawley emphasized the importance of educating people about the levels of harassment women encounter in a daily basis.

Although many may reject or refuse to believe sexism and gender inequalities are still issues that presently occurs, the reality is that it’s as real and present as racism or xenophobia.

“I think it’s very much like racism but if you don’t experience it you don’t see it, you don’t often recognize it and it’s often a difficult conversation to have, specially if you’re trying to point out sexism in the societal structures. People who don’t experience sexism will say that it doesn’t exist in the same way you hear people say racism doesn’t exist anymore so I think there’s is a lot of work that needs to be done to make sure there is a level playing field for everybody,” said Professor Hawley.

From my female and minority perspective I agree that unless you have experience with sexism or racism it’s difficult to understand the immensity of the problem.

For Hawley, Women’s History Month is an opportunity to share with the wider public outside her classroom about topics discussed in her Women’s History class and topics that aren’t talked about often.

“I often give speeches all throughout Women’s History Month around town, around the county, different groups ask me to come speak and it gives me the opportunity to talked about issues that don’t get talked about for the rest of the year,” said Hawley.

Women’s History Month is a time to acknowledge and honor Women’s History but most importantly to realize that sexism and inequalities between sexes is a problem that needs to be fixed.