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Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month banner

By Chloe Smith

What is Women's History Month?

National Women's History Alliance (2020) states, “We are retelling history and changing the future. We believe that knowing women’s history gives all of us—female and male—the power and inspiration to succeed. We believe that Our History Is Our Strength.” Women’s History month is recognized in the month of March. This occasion is an optimal time to celebrate courageous, heroic, and bold women who have helped shape history.

Drawn portraits of various women through history
Image from US Embassies and Consulates in China

The woman behind National Women's History Month

Molly Murphy MacGregor
Image from Verdugo Hills High School Online

Molly Murphy MacGregor, a high school history teacher, is the “backbone” to shaping recognition of women in history. MacGregor explains that one day upon being asked by a student to address the women’s movement in class, she began to go through textbooks so that she could give an educated explanation.  MacGregor experienced great disappointment when she realized that the historical coverage of women in history was lacking. She realized that women have been nearly left out of history books. It was this moment that MacGregor became determined to make a record of underrepresented women who created historical and monumental movements to make the world a better place. MacGregor set out to establish Women’s History Week in 1978- a weeklong celebration hosted in California to educate others about women in history. Two years later, President Carter declared Women’s History Week to be a national celebration. Nine years later in 1987, Congress declared National Women’s History Week to become a month observed in March. Thirty-two years later, National Women’s History Month is a major celebration and a developed grassroots organization that advocates for the inclusion of women figures in history. 

2020's Women's History Month Theme

 

Valiant Women of the VOTE with various women dressed as Rosie the Riveter

Image from Belmont.edu

Each year, the National Women’s History Alliance selects a theme for the celebration. This year's theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote.” This theme is to honor those who fought for suffrage rights for not only women, but everyone in the United States. This year’s theme not only recognizes the work for the 19th Amendment but also those in the 20th and 21st centuries who continue to advocate for fair literacy tests, voter roll purges, and other measures that encourage more fair voting rights for all.

How you can participate

  1. Share quotes from women doing astounding things.
  2. Write a note to a woman who motivates you.
  3. Give compliments often.
  4. Write a letter to yourself.
  5. When you see a fellow student who has dropped her books everywhere, or is extremely nervous for a class presentation, stop what you are doing and help. Strong women lift each other up.
  6. Be a mentor to a young woman. Reach out to her and offer your wisdom.
  7. Showcase female coworkers or classmates by recognizing their achievements. You can do this by sending an email or identifying them at a meeting.
  8. Teacher? Youth group leader? Group facilitator? Prepare and present a short history lesson on Women’s History Month.
  9. Support a women-owned business or organization.
  10. Watch a movie or documentary about a woman (or women) in history.
  11. Read a book that not only informs you of women in history, but one that inspires YOU too!
  12. Volunteer at a place that serves women. Maybe even donate gently used clothes to women.  Neat Fact: You can donate interview clothing to Alliance for Career Development Nonprofits for women in need of professional clothing.
  13. Listen to an inspiring podcast during your travels. 

Women working to end mental health stigma

Women's History Celebration 2020 banner
Image from Wpunj.edu
There are many women who have and are currently making a positive difference in the world we live in today. Today, we recognize those who are fighting the stigma of societal judgment of mental health. There is an abundance of well-known women who are working to put a face to mental health concerns. These women are not only raising awareness, but helping others living with similar challenges not feel alone. Below are just a few stories that describe this: 

Hayden Panettiere

Hayden Panettiere

Hayden battled postpartum depression after giving birth to her daughter, Kaya. She has spoken publicly about this life challenge and chose to speak about her in-patient treatment plan.

Image from HairDIY

Simone Biles

Simone Biles competing on balance beam
Image from wsj.com

You may have seen Olympic gymnast Simone Biles tweet, “I have ADHD and I have taken medicine for it since I was a kid. Please know, I believe in a clean sport, have always followed the rules, and will continue to do so as fair play is critical to sport and very important to me” in response to unauthorized record releases of Biles’ ADHD diagnosis. Biles discusses her diagnosis and treatment plans publicly without any shame.



Kenzie Brenna

Kenzie Brenna Kenzie Brenna Instagram screenshot Kenzie Brenna headshot

Images from: Shineinfluencers.com and Yahoo.com

Kenzie Brenna, known for being the creator of #cellulitesaturdays, creates awareness of eating disorders after being diagnosed with her own eating disorder challenges. 

Dese'Rae Stage

Dese'Rae Stage

Stage is the founder of Live Through This. Live Through This is a project that captures images and stories of people who have attempted to end their own life but lived through their suicide attempts. Stage lived through her own suicide attempt and now helps other survivors with their own stories.

Image from Romper.com



Women have promoted major movements to create the life that is possible today for women across the nation. The celebration of women’s history began as a single day of honor that progressed to a week celebration. Now, women’s history is celebrated during the entirety of March with great support.


Your own mental health journey

Are you wondering how you can begin your own journey of mental health care? For starters, you may seek individual or group therapy at the Carruth Center. Seeking professional support is a way to manage your mental health leading up to, during, and following mental health care. The Carruth Center offers individual counseling, psychiatry, and therapy groups. Additionally, the Carruth Center offers case management appointments to assist in finding you the most optimal care. The Carruth Center is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 304-293-4431.

You can also use the Crisis Text Line by texting WVU to 741741. The Crisis Text Line is available 24/7 for free, confidential help with a trained Crisis Counselor.

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