The Women of America

Kayla Person

Since 1981, March has been recognized as National Women’s History Month. However, the origins of this monthly celebration have been traced back much further in time. According to the United States Census Bureau, “National Women’s History Month traces its roots to March 8, 1857, when women from various New York City factories staged a protest over poor working conditions.” Over 50 years later, in 1909, the first Women’s Day was celebrated. However, as previously mentioned, National Women’s History Month did not come to pass until many years later.

Now, there are several women in American history that deserve to be celebrated, but they always seem to get muddled together. Everyone knows the major influences for women’s equality; Susan B. Anthony, who was crucial to the Women’s Suffrage movement, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a late Supreme Court justice responsible for the passing of Roe v. Wade, and Harriet Tubman, who helped liberate over 700 slaves using the Underground Railroad. However, there are countless other women throughout American history who have earned the celebration others get.

Maya Angelou, best known for her impactful and distinctive writing, is seen as “one of the most important figures in modern American literature” (All About History, 2022). After experiencing abuse in her formative years, Angelou’s trauma response left her unable to speak for multiple years. As a result, she began to use writing as her “voice”, creating famous pieces such as “And Still I Rise”. In her adult life, Angelou became an influential voice in the Civil Rights Movement, befriending both Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, two drastically different men with drastically different beliefs.

On the more recent side of the spectrum, Kamala Harris has recently made history as not only the first vice president of color but also as the first woman to become vice president of the United States. Before making it to her current position in office, Harris’s main occupation was as a lawyer. In 2010, she was elected attorney general, then proceeded to run for and secure a place in the Senate in 2016. Being elected to that senate seat also made her the second Black woman in the senate, with Carol Moseley Braun being the first. 

Turning the focus to the lesser-known women of this country, Emilia Casanova de Villaverde, while being a primarily Cuban figure, left a fair mark on this country. Villaverde was a passionate revolutionary and advocate for Cuba’s independence in the late 1800s and early 1900s. During the Ten Years War, Villaverde contributed to the effort by creating one of the first known women’s clubs, La Liga de las Hijas de Cuba. Together, the organization helped gain funds and assist those who sought refuge from the war. Villaverde even took it upon herself to stand before the United States Congress to inform them of Cuba’s situation and repeatedly asked President Ulysses S. Grant for government assistance.

There are countless other women that have left their mark on this world, all of whom unfortunately cannot fit into one article. Nonetheless, what can fit is the fact that for centuries, women have fought tooth and nail to get where they are all over the world. There is no doubt that they have earned an entire month dedicated to appreciating and celebrating them.