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Women's History Library
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WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH LIBRARY

ABOUT WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.

Women’s History Month.org

International Women’s Day: March 8th, 2022 Theme: #BreaktheBias

National Women’s History Alliance: Theme: “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope”


Social Media Toolkit: FB, IG, & TW

Our social media toolkit  is for everyone! The Global Women’s Caucus has created free graphics, Facebook covers and more to help you spread the word about Women’s History Month. Post on social media and tag us @WomensCaucusAbroad on Facebook or @dawomenscaucus on Instagram and @dawomenscaucus on Twitter. Show off your Democratic pride online by sharing our graphics with friends and family. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more exciting content!

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EVENT-IN-A-BOX

Women’s History Trivia Quiz:

Take this quiz and see how much you know, or learn something new, about the women who have shaped our world today. Share your scores, favorite questions, or surprising anecdotes with us, by posting to our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page with the #learningwomenshistory and linking the quiz!

Women’s History My Country2:        

Have Women’s Caucus or other interested members facilitate a conversation comparing the history of women’s movements and the state of women’s rights in the U.S. versus the country where you live. More information here.

Break the Bias Event:

International Women’s Day: March 8th, 2022 Theme: #BreaktheBias

National Women’s History Alliance online store

National Women’s History Alliance: Theme: “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope”

ONLINE EXHIBITS AND EVENTS


NOTABLE WOMEN (click here to see more)

*Images and text to be used for educational purposes only*

Harriet Tubman was born between 1820 and 1822 , and died in 1913. She was a courageous and committed abolitionist and played a critical role in facilitating the escape of innumerable slaves. Herself, the victim of severe abuse while being enslaved, Tubman was a life-long fighter for the rights of African-Americans and women. Her portrait was originally scheduled to appear on the US $20 bill beginning in 2020, the first African-American to be chosen for that honor. The honor, however, was “postponed” by Donald Trump.

Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin (August 31, 1842 – March 13, 1924) was editor of the Woman's Era, the first national newspaper published by African American women with an intended African American audience in mind. She was an active abolitionist and, with her husband, recruited black soldiers for the Union Army.  Working in many women’s organizations with both black and white women, Ruffin formed the American Women’s Suffrage Association in Boston with Julia Ward Howe and Lucy Stone and and led “The First National Conference of the Colored Women of America.”

Kaya Thomas (1995-) is an American computer scientist, app developer, and writer. Notable for her contributions to the iOS app, Calm, she also developed the app, We Read Too, which houses a collection of children’s books by authors of color.

Maggie Kuhn (August 3, 1905 – April 22, 1995) was an American activist. She founded the Gray Panthers movement, after she was forced to retire from her job at 65, the mandatory age of retirement at the time.. The Gray Panthers aided in nursing home reform and fighting ageism, claiming that "old people and women constitute America's biggest untapped and undervalued human energy source." Kuhn was a champion for human rights, social and economic justice, global peace, integration, and for a collective understanding of mental health issues. Alongside her activism, she cared for her mother, who had a disability, and her brother who suffered from mental illness.

Charlotte Louise Bridges Forten Grimké (August 17, 1837 – July 23, 1914) was a poet, and educator raised in Philadelphia by an abolitionist family. She educated freedmen during the Civil War in South Carolina, and was the first African American hired by the Eppes Grammar School in Salem to teach white students in a public school. She was a founding member  of the Colored Women’s League and the National Association of Colored Women.

Fannie Lou Hamer  (October 6, 1917 – March 14, 1977) was co-founder and vice-chair of the Freedom Democratic Party, which she represented at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.  She was a voting and women’s rights champion and advocate in getting women of all races into government positions. She organized Mississippi’s Freedom Summer, working with SNCC and was co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus. Hamer was a victim of forced sterilization when she received a hysterectomy by a white doctor without her consent. The third annual women’s march on January 19, 2019, was dedicated to Hamer's life and legacy.

Adelina Otero-Warren, the first Hispanic woman to run for U.S. Congress and the first female superintendent of public schools in Santa Fe, was a leader in New Mexico’s women's suffrage movement.

Anna Julia Haywood Cooper (1858 – 1964) Born into slavery, Cooper was an author, activist, educator, sociologist, one of the most prominent African-American scholars in United States history. She received her PhD in history from the Sorbonne in 1924, as just the fourth African-American woman to earn a doctoral degree, and Master’s at Oberlin College. Her book, A Voice from the South, is widely considered one of the first commentaries on black feminism.

Angelina Weld Grimké ( 1880 – 1958) rose to prominence during the Harlem Renaissance. As a  journalist, teacher, playwright, and poet, “Race” became a major theme in her life due to the fact that her mother was white and her father was half-white. Considered a "woman of color" by society at the time, she often conveyed these themes in her work, and was one of the first American women of color to have a play publicly performed..

Rachel Carson (1907-1964) A marine biologist and nature writer, Rachel Carson catalyzed the global environmental movement with her 1962 book Silent Spring. Outlining the dangers of chemical pesticides, the book led to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides and sparked the movement that ultimately led to the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825 – 1911) was an abolitionist, suffragist, poet, teacher, public speaker, writer, and one of the first African American women to be published in the United States. Working as a seamstress and then teacher, Harper aided in the getting refugee slaves to Canada via the Underground Railroad. In 1853, she started political activism with public speaking after joining the American Anti-Slavery Society. In an emotional speech before the National Women’s Rights Convention, Harper advocated for equality, inserting Black suffragist sentiment within the woman's suffrage movement.

Barbara Charline Jordan (1936 – 1996) was the first African American elected to the Texas Senate after Reconstruction, and the first Southern African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. An attorney, teacher and activist legislator, she was perhaps best known for her opening comments at the Nixon/Watergate hearings, and keynote address at the 1976 Democratic Convention, as the first African-American and first woman to do so.

Stacey Yvonne Abrams ( 1973 - ) served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 2007 to 2017. In 2018, Abrams lost a Gubernatorial race, in which she was the first African-American and female major party nominee, due to acts of voter suppression. Abrams is a staunch supporter and activist for voter rights, and is credited with turning the red state of Georgia blue during the 2020 general presidential election and for winning two senate seats in the 2021 Georgia state runoff election.


Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (1875 – 1955) the daughter of slaves, was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, and civil rights activist. She founded the National Council for Negro Women and was appointed as a national adviser to president Franklin D. Roosevelt, with whom she worked to create the Federal Council on Negro Affairs. Bethune was the sole African-American woman officially a part of the US delegation that created the United Nations charter and was one of the few women in the world to serve as a college president at that time.

Amelia Isadora Platts Boynton Robinson (1911 – 2015) was a leader of the civil rights movement, partaking in the 1965 marches from Selma to Montgomery where she worked with Martin Luther King. As a young girl Boynton campaigned for Suffrage and, in 1934, registered to vote in Alabama where there was an established disenfranchising constitution. As the first female African American to run for office in Alabama, she also became the first woman to run as a Democrat. Boynton was a guest of honor at the ceremony when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.

Dolores Huerta (1930-) Co-founder of the United Farm Workers Association, Dolores Clara Fernandez Huerta is one of the most influential labor activists of the 20th century and a leader of the Chicano civil rights movement.

Daisy Bates (1914 – 1999) was an American civil rights activist, publisher, journalist, and lecturer who played a leading role in the Little Rock Integration Crisis of 1957.   As co-publishers of the Arkansas State Press, she and her husband were leaders in developing a voice for what would be the civil rights movement. In 1954, after Arkansas refused to enroll black students in schools despite the Brown v. Board of Education decision, she and her husband editorialized about the need for reform and urged immediate action. Her leadership in the NAACP, advocacy and dedication led her to become the organizer and  mentor of the students known as “The Little Rock Nine”.

Ruby Hurley (1909 – 1980) was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and administrator for the NAACP.  She was part of the committee which has set up a performance by the brilliant opera singer Marian Anderson after she was blocked from performing at Constitution Hall by the DAR.  The committee pulled off an event on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial which was attended by more than 75,000 people. She subsequently worked for the NAACP organizing youth and college students, set up offices, aided in the investigations of the murders of George W. Lee and Emmett Till.

Dorothea Dix (1802-1887) was an early 19th century activist who drastically changed the medical field during her lifetime. She championed for both the mentally ill and indigenous populations. By doing this work, she openly challenged 19th century notions of reform and illness. Additionally, Dix helped recruit nurses for the Union army during the Civil War. As a result, she transformed the field of nursing.

Grace Hopper (1906-1992) “At a very young age Grace Murray Hopper showed an interest in engineering. As a child, she would often take apart household goods and put them back together. Little did her family know, her curiosity would eventually gain her recognition from the highest office in the land.”

Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) “was an Austrian-American actress and inventor who pioneered the technology that would one day form the basis for today’s WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth communication systems. As a natural beauty seen widely on the big screen in films like Samson and Delilah and White Cargo, society has long ignored her inventive genius.”

Alice Paul (1885-1977) “A vocal leader of the twentieth century women’s suffrage movement, Alice Paul advocated for and helped secure passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, granting women the right to vote. Paul next authored the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923, which has yet to be adopted.”

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) “In the early 20th century, at a time when matters surrounding family planning or women’s healthcare were not spoken in public, Margaret Sanger founded the birth control movement and became an outspoken and life-long advocate for women’s reproductive rights. In her later life, Sanger spearheaded the effort that resulted in the modern birth control pill by 1960.”


Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (1913 – 2005) is best known for her pivotal role in the providing the impetus to launch the Montgomery bus boycott. 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to give up her seat in the “colored section” of a bus for a white passenger when the “whites-only section” was full.  Parks was the perfect person to work with the NAACP to challenge charges of civil disobedience. Her case became bogged down in the state courts, but an alternative case was eventually successful. Parks continued to work with Martin Luther King, Edgar Nixon and others, was active with The Black Panthers and worked in defense of political prisoners.

Jo Ann Gibson Robinson (April 17, 1912 – August 29, 1992) was an activist during the Civil Rights Movement and educator in Montgomery, Alabama. She earned multiple graduate degrees and taught at the college level. After joining the Women’s Political Council her suggestion of a boycott against bus segregation was rebuffed by the other members. In 1950 she became head of the organization and after Rosa Parks was arrested, Robinson, along with Ralph Abernathy, and other members of the WPCand, a couple of her students printed up 52,000 flyers, passed them out and the boycott campaign began.

Audre Geraldine Lorde also known by the pseudonyms of Gamba Adisa or Rey Domini (1934-1992) Is an essayist and poetess American , militant feminist, lesbian, and civil rights activist. As a poet, she is known for her technical mastery and emotional expression, as well as for her poems expressing the anger and outrage at the civil and social discrimination she observes throughout her life. Her poems and prose focus on issues of civil rights, feminism and the exploration of black female identity. She is one of the literary figures of the Black Arts Movement and was a New York Poet Laureate .

 Alice Ball  Brilliant Alice Augusta Ball was born on July 24, 1892 in Seattle, Washington. She was one of 4 children. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington in pharmaceutical chemistry.  Two years later, she earned a second degree in pharmacy.  With her pharmacy instructor, she published a 10-page article in the prestigious Journal of the American Chemical Society titled, "Benzoylations in Ether Solution." This kind of accomplishment was very rare for not only African American women, but women of any race.  She moved to Hawaii to work on her master’s degree in chemistry.

In 1915, Alice Ball became the first graduate of African American heritage, the first African American and the first woman chemistry professor at the University of Hawaii's chemistry department. She revolutionized the use of chaulmoogra by successfully isolated the ethyl esters from the oil to make an injectable form to treat leprosy.  Chaulmoogra had been used in the treatment of leprosy for hundreds of years, but only with moderate effect, and could have negative effects when applied to the skin. Her technique allowed the oil from the seed of the chaulmoogra tree to be injected and absorbed in the blood. Her newly-developed technique became the primary treatment for leprosy up until the onset of antibiotics, ca. 1940.  It is reported that in some primitive areas, her treatment is still used. At that time, many lepers were sent to Hawaii to be isolated from the main population. Her treatment allowed hundreds of people with leprosy to return home. She became ill before publishing her work. She returned to Seattle just before her death on Dec. 31, 1916. Her exact cause of death is uncertain. It was speculated that she died of chlorine poisoning, due to exposure that occurred while teaching in the laboratory. Her original death certificate was altered, the cause of death was changed to tuberculosis.

Author Dean, chemist and president of the university, continued her work but never gave her credit for her breakthrough. Dean published her findings; but for years they were known as the Dean Method. In 1970, historians uncovered the truth. The University of Hawaii did not recognize her work for nearly 90 years. In 2000, the university finally honored Ball by dedicating a plaque to her on the school's lone chaulmoogra tree. On the same day, the former Lieutenant Governor of HawaiiMazie Hirono, declared February 29, Alice Ball Day, which is now celebrated.

One cannot help but wonder what other marvelous work she could have accomplished had she lived longer than 24 years.

Alice Ball

Alice Augusta Ball (1892-1916)

Image result for anne Brown   Anne Brown   Anne Brown´s father was a physician and the child of a slave; her mother was Irish, Cherokee, and Black. She was born August 9, 1912, it was reported she had perfect singing pitch by her first birthday. At 16, she entered Juilliard as the first African American vocalist. In 1933, as a graduate student at Juilliard, she heard Gershwin was planning to write an African American Opera, so she wrote him a letter. Gershwin and Anne started collaborating and the part of Bess became a significant role in his opera. Anne is attributed with creating much of that role. She started each session by singing Summertime.    

Anne Brown "Summertime" from Original Porgy and Bess (1940)

In 1936, when the opera was to be performed at the National Theater in DC, Blacks were not able to buy tickets. She told Gershwin, "I will not sing at the National. If my mother, my father, my friends, if Black people cannot come hear me sing, then count me out.” “I remember Gershwin saying to me, 'You're not going to sing?' And I said to him, 'I can't sing!'" Anne confided that, due to her demands, the rules were changed.  When the curtain came down on the final performance of Porgy and Bess, segregation was reinstated.  

Brown toured Europe as a concert artist from 1942 to 1948. She did so also out of frustration from not being able to secure serious roles, due to continued racial prejudice. She felt her career chances were limited because of her skin color, even though she had a very light complexion. She stated: “Though there is no place on earth without prejudice. In fact, a French journalist wrote an article during one of my tours, asking: 'Why does she say she is colored? She's as white as any singer. It's just a trick to get people interested. Can you imagine? Of course, I was advertised as a Negro soprano. What is a Negro soprano?”

She also stated that she felt her ability to find work was easier abroad. She settled in Norway, bringing a daughter from a previous marriage with her.  She married Norwegian ski jumper, Thorleif Schjelderup, a medalist at the 1948 Winter Olympics. They had a daughter together. Anne worked at the Norwegian Opera, but due to asthma, she eventually started coaching voice.

In 1998, Anne Brown received the George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America from the Peabody Institute. She had been tentatively admitted 70 years earlier, but was denied entrance when they saw her skin color. She was also made an honorary citizen of Baltimore in 1999. In 2000, she was awarded Norway's Council of Cultures Honorary Award. She died March 13, 2009, age 96.            

NRK TV – Anne Brown - sanger

This charming video of Anne was made a few years before her death:  Gershwin & Bess: A Dialogue with Anne Brown {excerpt}

Anne Brown - Wikipedia 

Caludette Colvin          Born September 5, 1939 

 Claudette Colvin.jpg She is a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement. On March 2, 1955, she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus I Montgomery Alabama. She relied on the city's buses to get to and from school, because her parents did not own a car. Colvin was a member of the NAACP Youth Council, and had been actively learning about the Civil Rights Movement in school. The bus was full, and Colvin was asked to give up her seat for a white person; she refused, stating she paid the same as everyone else. The police were called, and she was arrested and physically removed from the bus. Colvin said, "Young people think Rosa Parks just sat down on a bus and ended segregation, but that wasn't the case at all.” Claudette Colvin was the fifteen-year-old that inspired and motivated Parks.

Fred Gray, Claudette Colvin´s attorney, had a plan after the incident with Colvin.  Someone else needed to be arrested, so Gray could take a stand. And according to their lawyer, Fred Gray, Parks was waiting to be asked to get off the bus.  Rosa was an acquaintance and was an adult. She was advised to resist, if and when, she was asked to move or vacate the bus.  Colvin was among the four plaintiffs included in the federal court case filed by civil rights attorney, Fred Gray, on February 1, 1956, as Browder v. Gayle. She testified before the three-judge panel that heard the case in the United States District Court. On June 13, 1956, the judges determined that the state and local laws requiring bus segregation in Alabama were unconstitutional. 

According to Gray, Colvin was the truly, extremely brave one since she was so young, and had no back-up at the time when she refused to cooperate. She moved to New York, since she had difficulty finding employment in Montgomery.  Similarly, Parks moved to Detroit. Claudette Colvin worked as a nurse’s aide in a retirement home for 36 years. In my opinion, that is a character of a persistent caring person. She had two sons.  

It could be said, she was the spark that ignited the Montgomery bus boycott movement; she rarely told her story once she moved to New York City. She has stated, "I feel very, very proud of what I did,"  “I do feel like what I did was a spark and it caught on. I'm not disappointed. Let the people know Rosa Parks was the right person for the boycott.”

Claudette Colvin   

Fred Gray (attorney)

Elizabeth Van Lew

Image result for elizabeth van lew

Elizabeth Van Lew was born on October 12, 1818, in Richmond, Virginia. She was educated in a Quaker school in Philadelphia, which solidified her view against slavery.  She was an abolitionist and philanthropist, who built and operated an extensive spy ring for the United States, during the Civil War. After her father’s death, she freed the slaves her father owned and kept many of them as paid employees. Elizabeth used her entire cash inheritance of $10,000 to purchase and free some of their former slaves' relatives.  Elizabeth's brother was a regular visitor to Richmond's slave market, where, when a family was about to be split up, he would purchase them all, bring them home, and issue papers of manumission.

Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, she, along with her mother, cared for wounded and captured soldiers, providing food, medicine and books. These activities were frowned upon by the Confederate.  She harbored and aided escaped soldiers, hiding some in her large home. Prisoners passed on information that she shared with the Union commanders. She aided civilians on both sides. Her feminine skills, including female charity, and at times, odd behavior aided her in not being exposed. Her status as a wealthy woman from a prominent family also helped. She is credited with gaining "the greater portion of intelligence in 1864-65.” Upon meeting Grant after the war, he stated, "You have sent me the most valuable information received from Richmond during the war." He appointed her postmaster in Richmond. Just as victory was in sight, she raised the giant (18 ft x 9 ft) flag over her home. It was the first United States flag to fly in the city, since Virginia had seceded. 

After the war, it was understood she was a spy. She had used her entire large fortune to assist in intelligence activities. She found herself deserted and without funds after trying in vain to receive a pension from the federal government. However, she received funds from the grandson of Paul Revere, Union Col. Paul Joseph Revere, whom she had aided, along with other Bostonians.   But, she remained a social outcast in her local community for the remainder of her life.

She died on Sept 25, 1900, age 81. She was buried in a vertical position facing North, as she had wished. Elizabeth Van Lew was inducted into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame in 1993. Several books & films & TV series were made about her life.

Elizabeth Van Lew

Elizabeth Van Lew: An Unlikely Union Spy | History

Elizabeth Van Lew: American Civil War Story

BOOKS TO READ THIS MONTH

*Images and text to be used for educational purposes only*

Our Time is Now’ by Stacey Abrams

A recognized expert on fair voting and civic engagement, Abrams chronicles a chilling account of how the right to vote and the principle of democracy have been and continue to be under attack. Abrams would have been the first African American woman governor, but experienced these effects firsthand, despite running the most innovative race in modern politics as the Democratic nominee in Georgia. Abrams didn't win, but she has not conceded. The book compellingly argues for the importance of robust voter protections, an elevation of identity politics, engagement in the census, and a return to moral international leadership.

Private Politics and Public Voices: Black Women’s Activism from World War I to the New Deal” by Nikki Brown

This political history of middle-class African American women during World War I focuses on their patriotic activity and social work. Nearly 200,000 African American men joined the Allied forces in France. At home, black clubwomen raised more than $125 million in wartime donations and assembled "comfort kits" for black soldiers, with chocolate, cigarettes, socks, a bible, and writing materials. Given the hostile racial climate of the day, why did black women make considerable financial contributions to the American and Allied war effort? Brown argues that black women approached the war from the nexus of the private sphere of home and family and the public sphere of community and labour activism. Their activism supported their communities and was fuelled by a personal attachment to black soldiers and black families. Private Politics and Public Voices follows their lives after the war, when they carried their debates about race relations into public political activism.Nikki Brown is Chair of the History Department at Grambling State University.


Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell” by Alison Parker

Born into slavery during the Civil War, Mary Church Terrell (1863–1954) would become one of the most prominent activists of her time, with a career bridging the late nineteenth century to the civil rights movement of the 1950s. The first president of the National Association of Colored Women and a founding member of the NAACP, Terrell collaborated closely with the likes of Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, and W. E. B. Du Bois. Unceasing Militant is the first full-length biography of Terrell, bringing her vibrant voice and personality to life. Though most accounts of Terrell focus almost exclusively on her public activism, Alison M. Parker also looks at the often turbulent, unexplored moments in her life to provide a more complete account of a woman dedicated to changing the culture and institutions that perpetuated inequality throughout the United States.

‘The Buddha in the Attic” by Julie Otsuka 

Between the first and second world wars a group of young, non-English-speaking Japanese women travelled by boat to America. They were picture brides, clutching photos of husbands-to-be whom they had yet to meet. Julie Otsuka tells their extraordinary, heartbreaking story in this spellbinding and poetic account of strangers lost and alone in a new and deeply foreign land.

“White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind’ by Koa Beck

Join the important conversation about race, empowerment, and inclusion in the United States with this powerful new feminist classic and rousing call for change. Koa Beck, writer and former editor-in-chief of Jezebel, boldly examines the history of feminism, from the true mission of the suffragettes to the rise of corporate feminism with clear-eyed scrutiny and meticulous detail. She also examines overlooked communities—including Native American, Muslim, transgender, and more—and their difficult and ongoing struggles for social change.

“Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger”

by Rebecca Traister

In the year 2018, it seems as if women’s anger has suddenly erupted into the public conversation. But long before Pantsuit Nation, before the Women’s March, and before the #MeToo movement, women’s anger was not only politically catalytic—but politically problematic. The story of female fury and its cultural significance demonstrates the long history of bitter resentment that has enshrouded women’s slow rise to political power in America, as well as the ways that anger is received when it comes from women as opposed to when it comes from men.

“No Small Courage: A History of Women in the United States” by Nancy F. Cott (Editor)

Enriched by the wealth of new research into women's history, No Small Courage offers a lively chronicle of American experience, charting women's lives and experiences with fascinating immediacy from the precolonial era to the present. Individual stories and primary sources-including letters, diaries, and news reports-animate this history of the domestic, professional, and political efforts of American women.

Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she’s been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Now, in her first book, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths—that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp but are a complicated, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own. In her book, as in her groundbreaking research, Simard proves the true connectedness of the Mother Tree to the forest, nurturing it in the profound ways that families and human societies nurture one another, and how these inseparable bonds enable all our survival.

Lists: Women's History Month General Reads

Lists: Women's Suffrage

Lists: Black Feminism


FILMS TO WATCH THIS MONTH

*images and text to be used for educational purposes only*

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WgrqnSnsWQ

Provider NBC Universal

Rating PG-13

Release date 2015

Running time

1:46:26

Academy Award-nominees Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter, and three-time Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep star in this powerful drama, inspired by true events, about the women willing to lose everything in their fight for equality in early twentieth-century Britain. Galvanized by outlaw fugitive Emmeline (Meryl Streep), Maud (Carey Mulligan) joins the U.K.'s growing Suffragette movement alongside women from all walks of life who sacrificed their jobs, homes, children-and even their lives for the right to vote. (Original Title - Suffragette) - 2015 Focus Features. All Rights Reserved.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Abkka8Vf2_M

Provider

Paramount

Rating

PG-13

Release date

2014

Actors

David OyelowoTom WilkinsonCarmen EjogoGiovanni RibisiAlessandro NivolaCuba GoodingTim RothOprah Winfrey

From the Oscar-winning producers of 12 Years a Slave and acclaimed director Ava DuVernay comes the true story of courage and hope that changed the world forever. Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo shines as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who rallied his followers on the historic march from Selma to Montgomery in the face of violent opposition an event that became a milestone victory for the civil rights movement. Oscar nominees Oprah Winfrey and Tom Wilkinson also star in this landmark film.


Provider KinoLorber

Rating Unrated

Release date 2017

Running time 1:36:38

Audio German

Subtitle (auto) English

Actors Marie LeuenbergerMaximilian SimonischekRachel BraunschweigSibylle BrunnerBettina StuckyElla Rumpf

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Film at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Divine Order is set in Switzerland in 1971 where, despite the worldwide social upheavals of the previous decade, women were still denied the right to vote. When unassuming and dutiful housewife Nora (Marie Leuenberger, winner of a Best Actress award at Tribeca) is forbidden by her husband to take a part-time job, her frustration leads to her becoming the poster child of her town’s suffragette movement. Her newfound celebrity brings humiliation, threats, and the potential end to her marriage, but, refusing to back down, she convinces the women in her village to go on strike...and makes a few startling discoveries about her own liberation. Uplifting and crowd-pleasing, this charming, captivating film is a time-capsule that could not be more timely.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOrD0tH_WaM

Iron Jawed Angels is a 2004 American historical drama film directed by Katja von Garnier. The film stars Hilary Swank as suffragist leader Alice Paul, Frances O'Connor as activist Lucy Burns, Julia Ormond as Inez Milholland, and Anjelica Huston as Carrie Chapman Catt.

Video: Planned Parenthood’s Sexual and Reproductive Justice Timeline Video

The past is the present and nowhere is that more clearly witnessed than in the Reproductive Justice timeline first documented by Western States Center and Advocates for Youth and built upon over years by numerous activists, advocates and scholars. This timeline offers a window into the nation’s reproductive history including its founding tenants, extremely dehumanizing acts and the unwavering lineage of resistance to reproductive oppression.  As a part of our Sexual and Reproductive Justice workgroup and later our Reviving Radical initiatives, we shared this enhanced reproductive justice timeline at our events and teach-ins.

https://visionmakermedia.org/watch-herald-native-women/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsSnfCY_bqY

https://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/film-tv/g19037519/best-feminist-movies/


FACTOIDS


WOMEN &...

WOMEN & CITIZENSHIP 

“Race and marriage mediated women’s nationality status until the 1930’s.  From the constitutional founding through the Civil War, African, Indian and Asian women and men could not be naturalized.  Mexicans in the Southwest could become naturalized after the mid-nineteenth-century U.S. conquest of Mexican territory, and Africans were permitted naturalization under post-civil war legislation.  Except for those Indians(sic) whose tribal treaties with the U.S. government provided naturalization rights, Indians were excluded from naturalization until 1924.  Until 1952, Asian immigrants were deemed “ineligible for citizenship.”

Although early-nineteenth-century judicial decisions considered women’s nationality status to be independently determined by the territorial condition of their birth, by the mid-nineteenth century, women’s nationality was tied to that of their husband.  Following the family law doctrine of coverture, according to which married women assumed the state or domicile citizenship of their husbands, the Naturalization Act of 1855 imposed citizenship on foreign-born white women who married U.S. citizens.  This assigned political consequences to women’s marriage decisions; it also reinforced the idea that by consenting to marriage, women consented to multiple forms of dependency on and subordination to men.

The 1907 naturalization policy added a punitive dimension to women’s derivative citizenship by revoking the nationality status of U.S.-born women who married men from other countries.”

Source: The Reader’s Companion to Women’s History

Batlan, F. “She Was Surprised And Furious”: Expatriation, Suffrage, Immigration, And The Fragility Of Women’s Citizenship, 1907-1940.

Gardner, S. (2014). Psi Sigma Siren. Marriage and Citizenship in the United States, 8(1).

The Cable Act (1922)    It served to lend women independence from their husbands, in citizenship.

Citizenship and the Origins of Women's History in the United States   

Book by Teresa Ann Murphy

WOMEN & CREDIT

 “Banks could refuse women a credit card until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974  was signed into law. Prior to that, a bank could refuse to issue a credit card to an unmarried woman, and if a woman was married, her husband was required to cosign.  

Many banks required single, divorced or widowed women to bring a man with them to cosign for a credit card, according to CNN, and some discounted the wages of women by as much as 50% when calculating their credit card limits, according to an article from Smithsonian Magazine.”

Women's rights and their money: a timeline from Cleopatra to Lilly Ledbetter | Money | The Guardian

How Ruth Bader Ginsburg Paved Way for Women to Get Credit Cards | NextAdvisor with TIME

WOMEN & WAGE/INCOME INEQUALITY

“The first surveys of earning, and a self-perpetuating cycle of low employer expectations, low wages, and low lifetime female workforce participation.

“Individual characteristics in the late nineteenth century indicate that men were paid more than women upon hiring, but that the wage gap closed over time.  Analysis of these data suggests that the nineteenth-century wage gap can be explained largely by differences in experience, productivity and expected lifetime workforce participation.  The fact that women were paid low wages may have encouraged them to leave the workplace, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of low employee expectations, low wages and low lifetime female workforce participation.”

Source: The Reader’s Companion to Women’s History

https://now.org/resource/the-gender-pay-gap-myth-vs-fact

Quick Facts About the Gender Wage Gap - Center for American Progress

Income Inequality Definition, Facts, and History of Income Inequality in the US - 2021 - MasterClass

Gender pay gap has narrowed, but changed little in past decade | Pew Research Center

5 Reasons The Gender Pay Gap Exists (Yes, There’s Not Just One) - Future Women

What’s the difference between wealth inequality and income inequality, and why does it matter? - Positive Money

WOMEN & SUFFRAGE 

The Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified on August 18, 1920. It declares that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

Women’s Suffrage - The U.S. Movement, Leaders & Amendment - HISTORY

The Complex History of the Women’s Suffrage Movement - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Leaving all to younger hands: Why the history of the women’s suffragist movement matters (brookings.edu)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_suffrage_in_the_United_States

WOMEN & EDUCATION

“In 1837, Oberlin College in Ohio was the first to admit to higher education, women and men of all races. Oberlin students were required to work, as well as, study. One could speculate that one reason Oberlin admitted women was that they would take care of domestic chores for the males, who worked on the college farm.  In the early Republic, white women’s education focused on preparing females to be beacons of enlightened morality for the families and better companions for their husbands.  In addition, many women were trained to be teachers, as well as caretakers, such as nurses and social workers.  Well into the twentieth century, girls were raised and women were more formally educated to do the unpaid or underpaid work that boys and men did not think they should do.”

https://www.thoughtco.com/history-women-h,igher-ed-4129738

Women, Marriage, Education, and Occupation in the United States from 1940-2000 | History 90.01: Topics in Digital History (dartmouth.edu)

WOMEN & SLAVERY AND WOMEN & ABOLITION

“Despite their common bondage, men and women did not experience slavery the same way.  Slave women experienced sexual exploitation, childbearing, motherhood, and the slaveholder’s sexism.  Slave women were exploited for their reproductive, as well as, productive capacities.”

“The organization of female antislavery societies reflected the conventional organizational structure present in social reform organizations, in which men formed the leadership and headed the state and national societies, while women were expected to form separate, auxiliary societies.  The function of female antislavery societies was similar to that of other female reform organizations of the period, namely, to raise money to support the movement’s lecturers and its official newspapers…..Unlike other reform movements of the time, including temperance and antiprostitution groups, in which such questions rarely arose.  By the mid-1830’s, abolitionist men and women furiously debated the “proper” role of women in public reform movements….Some women abolitionists pushed the boundaries of acceptable behavior in public reform by stepping into male domains and expanding discussions about “equality” in the movement.  In so doing, this generation of women activists forged a collective legacy for subsequent movements for sexual and racial equality in U.S. society.  More importantly, their participation in abolition and women’s rights also foretold the continuing struggle over racism, classism, and sexism; both within the movements themselves and in society, at large.”

Source: The Reader’s Guide to Women’s History

“So I start the book by talking about how white slave-holding parents trained their daughters how to be slave owners. They gave them lessons in slave discipline and slave management. Some even allowed their daughters to mete out physical punishments.

Slave-holding parents and slave-holding family members gave girls enslaved people as gifts — for Christmas sometimes, when they turned 16 or when they turned 21.There are even accounts of slave-holding parents and family members giving white female infants enslaved people as their own. There is one particular instance of a case, in a court record, where a woman talks about how her grandfather gave her an enslaved person as her own when she was 9 months old.”

Source: Stephanie Jones-Rogers in VOX interview about her book, “They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South”

Women and Abolitionism | The Abolition Seminar

History of slavery: white women were not passive bystanders - Vox

Abolitionist Movement — History of U.S. Woman's Suffrage (crusadeforthevote.org)

How Women Abolitionists Fought Enslavement (thoughtco.com)

Female Slave Owners - Atlantic History - Oxford Bibliographies

WOMEN & ECONOMIC POWER/EMPOWERMENT

“Periods of more economic growth typically are accompanied by expansion in labor market opportunities for women.  Women have held jobs vacated by men who are engaged in war. And, wartime spending stimulates demand for goods and services, and leads to increased production of goods and services.  Rapid economic growth appears to provide relatively greater opportunities for disadvantaged groups such as working-class women and people of color, while periods of slower growth disproportionately harm these groups.”  

Source: The Reader’s Guide to Women’s History

What’s Really Holding Women Back? (hbr.org)Women as Drivers of Economic Growth | S&P Global

How Women’s Economic Power Is Reshaping The Consumer Market (forbes.com)

Women’s Power Index | Council on Foreign Relations (cfr.org)

Women gain more political and economic power, but gender gap persists | EurekAlert! Science News

WOMEN & CLASS

“Throughout human history, three caste systems have stood out. The tragically accelerated, chilling, and officially vanquished caste system of Nazi Germany. The lingering, millennia-long caste system of India. And the shape-shifting, unspoken, race-based caste pyramid in the United States. Each version relied on stigmatizing those deemed inferior to justify the dehumanization necessary to keep the lowest-ranked people at the bottom and to rationalize the protocols of enforcement. A caste system endures because it is often justified as divine will, originating from sacred text or the presumed laws of nature, reinforced throughout the culture and passed down through the generations.”

Source: Isabel Wilkerson, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

“Class analysis, if central to women’s history, has its limits.  The class position of many women is by no means simple to assess.  Where, for example, do we place the impoverished white tenant farm women depicted in Margaret Hagood’s 1939 study Mothers of the South? They fit no easy Marxist categories.  They were near starvation, often dominated by abusive husbands; and yet they could still afford occasionally to hire African American women to help them after childbirth or when ill.  Their example illustrates the ways in which race privilege has sharply divided white women of a given class from those of the same ostensible class position who have been marked as racially inferior.”  

Source: WH

“Caste is insidious and therefore powerful because it is not hatred, it is not necessarily personal. It is the worn grooves of comforting routines and unthinking expectations, patterns of a social order that have been in place for so long that it looks like the natural order of things.”

Source: Isabel Wilkerson, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

Gender, social class, and women's employment (hbs.edu)

WOMEN & AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

“Advocates for affirmative action do not slight the value of merit, but do disagree that merit alone should determine the distribution of entry-level opportunity.  According to its advocates, affirmative action is necessary to ensure that people with power over hiring and admissions do not disregard the merits of white women and people of color.  Advocates also want to expand the meaning of merit to include the way life’s struggles - against sexism and racism - modulate ability and enrich each individual’s contribution to her job, school or community.”  

Source: WH

The Changing Meaning of Affirmative Action | The New Yorker

Affirmative Action Is Great For White Women. So Why Do They Hate It? | HuffPost Australia (huffingtonpost.com.au)

WOMEN & CIVIL RIGHTS

“The success of the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s was, in large part, a result of the crucial role that women played in propelling and sustaining mass action.  Women in communities throughout the South acted as leaders, organizers and members of the rank and file from the movement’s beginnings.  African American women already had begun organizing and protesting the discriminatory treatment of Blacks in urban transportation systems.  Civil rights activist, Rosa Parks, refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and was arrested on December 1, 1955.  Parks’ action was not coincidental, but rather a response to years of organizing experience in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

The first major federal legislative response to the Civil Rights Movement, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, and religion in several important arenas, including public accommodations, education, and employment.  The employment provision (Title VII) also barred discrimination on the basis of sex.  No provision of the Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  The authors of the Civil RIghts Act did not intend to include sex discrimination in any of its provisions.  Sex discrimination was introduced into the civil rights debate by southern opponents of the measure who south to flummox its supporters and kill it throught ridicule.”  

Source: WH

“Up to the 1940s, white southern female activism manifested itself through all-female, church-related groups. Most of these women belonged to the middle- and upper-class, and remained within the bounds of respectability as « southern ladies ». Yet they often found themselves at odds with their male-dominated institutions, and laid the groundwork for the following generations of activists.”

Source: Amnis Open Edition Journal

Women in the Civil Rights Movement | Articles and Essays | Civil Rights History Project | Digital Collections

8 historic women who pioneered the Civil Rights Movement

https://www.essence.com/holidays/black-history-month/photos-iconic-women-civil-rights-moveent/#212038

https://www.aarp.org/politics-society/history/info-2014/female-civil-rights-leaders.html#slide1

WOMEN & PHILANTHROPY

“Women in the United States have been active philanthropists since the colonial era.  Beginning in the late-eighteenth century, middle- and upper-class white women (and to a lesser extent, women of color) fostered the development of a wide array of charitable services and social reform movements for women and children, created parallel power structures that resembled, but rarely precisely replicated, the political and economic functions of government.  Most of these organizations were built on a foundation of voluntarism rather than cash.

“These patterns began to change in the 1980’s with the emergence of women’s funds, which are designed to channel money into organizations that focus on women and children, and to do so in ways that involve recipients, as well as, the donors in the allocation of grants.  In effect, they are designed to cut across the barriers of class and race.  One of the innovators in this area was the Ms. Foundation.  Created in 1972, Ms. was the first national, multi-national public women’s fund. Ms. has funded a variety of efforts, providing funds to prevent sexual abuse, to aid battered women, to curb sexual harassment in the workplace, to promote the passage of pro-choice legislation, to develop income-generation programs for poor women, and to train women at all levels of society to assume more visible leadership roles.”  

Source: WH

Women and Philanthropy

MacKenzie Scott, Melinda Gates, Priscilla Chan: On Women Philanthropists

https://www.donorsearch.net/womens-philanthropy-insight

WOMEN & PUBLIC HEALTH 

“Women have always been healers as well as caretakers; they have acted as pharmacists, physicians, nurses, herbalists, abortionists, counselors, midwives, and sages or "wise women." They also have been called witches. In the physician role, however, society rarely permitted them to perform in the same capacities and positions as men.”

Source: Encyclopedia.com

Women as Health Professionals, Historical Issues of

History of the Women’s Health Movement in the 20th Century

Women in Leadership and Public Health | Public Health Post

Women's Public Health and Safety Act will put the wellbeing of women and babies first

Women in Public Health and Medicine - Women's History (US National Park Service)

Seven Unique Roles Of Female Public Health Professionals

WOMEN & PUBLIC HOUSING AND WOMEN’S PROPERTY RIGHTS

“Today, it's easy to take for granted that women can take out a line of credit, apply for a home loan, or enjoy property rights. However, for centuries in the United States and Europe, this was not the case. A woman's husband or another male relative controlled any property allotted to her.

“The gender divide concerning property rights was so widespread that it inspired Jane Austen novels such as "Pride and Prejudice" and, more recently, period dramas such as "Downton Abbey." The plot lines of both works involve families made up solely of daughters. Because these young women can't inherit their father's property, their future depends on finding a mate.

“Women's right to own property was a process that took place over time, starting in the 1700s.”

Source: ThoughtCo

A Brief History of Women's Property Rights in the US

https://tunswblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/women-in-public-housing-history.html

Inside New York's last remaining all-women apartment buildings

The Evolution of the Fair Housing Act and Women's Progress in Housing

WOMEN & SOCIAL WORK

“Like the civil rights and antiwar movements, the anti-poverty programs of the 1960’s Johnson Administration planted seeds of feminist change, by mandating “maximum feasible participation” of agency clients and neighborhood residents, while empowering male agency heads, policymakers, and community leaders.  Not until the mid-1980’s, did the social work literature reflect issues concerning the feminist movement, which responded angrily and assertively to an era of social-change movements that often excluded women.”

Source: WH

Social Work History

Influential Women in the History of Social Work | Rutgers School of Social Work

From Charitable Volunteers to Architects of Social Welfare: A Brief History of Social Work

WOMEN & SEX TRAFFICKING

It is estimated that between 15,000 to 50,000 women and children are forced into sexual slavery in the United States every year, and the total number varies wildly as it is very difficult to research. One study from the Department of Health and Human Services, estimated the number at between 240,000 and 325,000, while a report from the University of Pennsylvania put it at between 100,000 and 300,000.

Source: The Deliver Fund 

WOMEN & SEXUAL ASSAULT

Startling statistics:

Source - WCSAP and Wikipedia and RAINN

WOMEN & CONSUMER CULTURE/CONSUMER PROTECTION

“an explicit conception of consumer identity, an identity that was simultaneously bound up in notions of the feminine. Born at the same time, the "Organization Man" and "Mrs. Consumer" in many ways reprised the older dichotomy of manly producers and domestic women. American women had long been consumers in a sense: they bought, bartered, and used goods. Except on the far reaches of the frontier, few eighteenth-century households were entirely self-sufficient. During the Revolution, women's political role involved consumer boycotts of imported teas and cloth; expected to run a household well, they took an increasingly active role in purchasing decisions. “  

Source: Journal for Multi-Media History

“The National Consumers League was chartered in 1899, by two of America’s leading social reformers, Jane Addams and Josephine Lowell.  These two women were pioneers in achieving many social reforms in communities and workplaces across the country. Under the direction of its first general secretary, Florence Kelley, the National Consumers League exposed child labor and other scandalous working conditions.  Kelley was to become one of the most influential and effective social reformers of the 20th century. During the early 1900s, she led the League in its efforts to:

Source: NCL

American Women and the Making of Modern Consumer Culture --- the electronic text

History – National Consumers League

Adding women to corporate boards improves decisions about medical product safety

International Law and Consumer Protection: The history of consumer protection

Consumer protection

WOMEN & CHILD PROTECTION

“In the Progressive Era, when presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson identified themselves as reformers and social activists, (Jane) Addams was one of the most prominent reformers.  She helped America address and focus on issues that were of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, local public health, and world peace. In her essay "Utilization of Women in City Government," Addams noted the connection between the workings of government and the household, stating that many departments of government, such as sanitation and the schooling of children, could be traced back to traditional women's roles in the private sphere. Thus, these were matters of which women would have more knowledge than men, so women needed the vote to best voice their opinions.  She said that if women were to be responsible for cleaning up their communities and making them better places to live, they needed to be able to vote to do so effectively.  Addams became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities.”  

Source: Wikipedia

A Short History of Child Protection in America

Jane Addams

Child Abuse and Neglect Policy - New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research

Legislation and Policies Related to Domestic Violence

WOMEN & CHILDCARE

“Inspired by the American Kindergarten movement, Pauline Agassiz Shaw established a day nursery with an educational focus, in 1878 Boston.  Many other centers followed Shaw's example, providing care for long hours with educational activities, comprehensive services, family education and training, and counseling; although most did not service the very young children. In the 1880's, Frances Willard attempted to meet this need by establishing the Women's Christian Temperance Union.  Her day nurseries were offered free of charge to poor mothers, but were not open to all racial and ethnic groups, and never to children of unwed mothers.  This discrimination left many mothers with no other option than to send their children to orphanages or in unsatisfactory arrangements in strangers homes.  The 1890's ushered in the National Association of Colored Women, which established day nurseries serving urban African American families and children.  The 1800's saw a number of experiments in childcare, enabling many women to avoid the depths of poverty by working outside of the home. Childcare was generally regarded as a last-resort measure, only to be utilized in the most dire of emergencies and circumstances.”

Source: Historical Foundations of Early Childhood Education

The History of Child Care in the U.S.

Origins of Childcare in the United States - Historical Foundations of Early Childhood Education

Women's work: mothers, children and the global childcare crisis - - Research reports and studies

A History of US Preschool Care and Education for the Poor, 1820–1965

Celebrating Women in Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education and Care in the United States: An Overview of the Current Policy Picture

WOMEN & POVERTY

“Since the late 1800s, settlement houses in America have allowed people of different backgrounds and socio-economic statuses to participate in activities and learn basic skills, with the support of others from their communities.  American settlements, and the women who led them, were not just the result of the Progressive Era in U.S. history; they were a defining force in the Progressive reform agenda. In the process, America gained a multi-dimensional perspective on poverty, one that continues to inform settlement houses, community multi-service centers, neighborhood development, and other efforts to promote social welfare.”  

Source: Social Welfare History Project

The Basic Facts About Women in Poverty

Women and Poverty in America

Feminization of poverty

Social Welfare History Project Women, Settlements and Poverty

WOMEN & THE LABOR MOVEMENT

From the Industrial Revolution to the rise of mass production in the early 20th century, women transformed their relationship with the union movement. During the 19th century, women entered factories in large numbers, working fourteen hours a day, six days a week in dangerous jobs for low pay. In response to these conditions, young female textile workers organized America’s first industrial protests, strikes, and reform groups. Despite these efforts, women were generally excluded from the larger labor movement. Conforming to the societal view that a woman’s place was in the home, the labor movement advocated for a “family wage” high enough that a husband could independently support his family.

At the turn of the 20th century, the rising suffrage movement and the influence of progressives and socialists began to challenge traditional male beliefs of women’s role in society. Inspired by liberal ideas and working under unchanging conditions, tens of thousands of clothing workers organized the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. Through unity with their male co-workers, shop floor organizing, strikes, and militancy, women demonstrated that they could secure union recognition, higher wages, and shorter work hours from their employers. For the first time, women became powerful allies in a common cause with their union brothers.  

Source: University of Maryland Library -  Breaking the Gender Barrier: A Woman’s Place is in her Union

Women's Rights | Unions Making History in America

Labor Movement in the United States

Women in labor unions

Women's Trade Union League

Uncovering the History of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

WOMEN & HEALTH

Medicine has always seen women first and foremost as reproductive bodies.  Our reproductive organs were the greatest source of difference to men – and because they were different, they were mysterious and suspicious.  But the fallout of this difference is that, for a long time, medicine assumed it was the only difference.  Because women had reproductive organs, they should reproduce, and all else about them was deemed uninteresting.

In the early 20th century, the endocrine system, which produces hormones, was discovered. To medical minds, this represented another difference between men and women, overtaking the uterus as the primary perpetrator of all women’s ills.  Still, medicine persisted with the belief that all other organs and functions would operate the same in men and women, so there was no need to study women.  Conversely, researchers said that the menstrual cycle, and varied release of hormones throughout the cycle in rodents, introduced too many variables into a study; therefore females could not be studied.”

Source: The Guardian - The female problem: how male bias in medical trials ruined women's health

Two centuries of women's health in two minutes

History of the Women’s Health Movement in the 20th Century

30 Achievements in Women's Health in 30 Years (1984 – 2014) | womenshealth.gov

Honoring the past: A history of women's healthcare

The female problem: how male bias in medical trials ruined women's health

Gendering the History of Women's Healthcare

WOMEN & MENTAL HEALTH

“Hysteria is undoubtedly the first mental disorder attributable to women, accurately described in the second millennium BC, and, until Freud, considered an exclusively female disease. Over 4000 years of history, this disease was considered from two perspectives: scientific and demonological. It was cured with herbs, sex or sexual abstinence, punished and purified with fire for its association with sorcery and finally, clinically studied as a disease and treated with innovative therapies. However, even at the end of the 19th century, scientific innovation had still not reached some places, where the only known therapies were those proposed by Galen. During the 20th century several studies postulated the decline of hysteria amongst occidental patients (both women and men) and the escalating of this disorder in non-Western countries. The concept of hysterical neurosis is deleted with the 1980 DSM-III. The evolution of these diseases seems to be a factor linked with social “westernization”, and examining under what conditions the symptoms first became common in different societies became a priority for recent studies over risk factor.”

Source: NCBI Women & Hysteria in the History of Mental Health

Women And Hysteria In The History Of Mental Health

History of the Women’s Health Movement in the 20th Century

WMH REVIEW FINAL

Mental Health Facts for Women

Module 2: A Brief History of Mental Illness and the US Mental Health Care System

History of Mental Illness | Noba


WHM LINKS


RESOURCES FOR MOTHERS & CHILDREN


ACTION

REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE

Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States

A Historical Overview

By: Monica Cardenas

Unmarried women in the United States have been legally permitted to use birth control for less than 50 years. Let that sink in.  

Women’s rights have enjoyed new attention in the past few years, thanks to the #MeToo movement, the popularity of the television show Mrs. America (including rockstar portrayal of Gloria Steinem), the passing of heroic equal rights advocate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and, in a strange way, the election of Donald Trump and his series of conservative Supreme Court Justices. But for all the obvious reasons women deserve equal treatment under the law, the fight for abortion rights and even unrestricted access to reproductive health care continues. (I wonder, do men need permission from the U.S. government to choose to disengage from a pregnancy he helped create?) READ MORE

In 1970, a group of women in the Boston area self-published “Women and Their Bodies,” a 193-page booklet that dared to address sexuality and reproductive health, including abortion.

WOMEN & PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION “Women could be fired for being pregnant until 1978.  The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prohibited sexual discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s website. It stated that women who are pregnant or have been affected by pregnancy or childbirth must be treated the same for all employment-related purposes.

An employer cannot refuse to hire a woman because of her pregnancy as long as she is able to perform the major functions of the job, according to the EEOC.

Before that law passed, however, there were numerous Supreme Court cases that dealt with employment discrimination against pregnant women, according to an article from jurist.org. The enactment of the law was in response to two Supreme Court cases.” 

CLIMATE JUSTICE

Celebrating Women Environmentalists During Women's History Month

Women’s history month - environmental defenders

By: Naomi Ages

Greta Thunberg’s name is now synonymous with climate action. The teenaged Swedish activist is one of the faces of the global movement to demand a safe climate for people and the planet. But as Thunberg herself points out, she is far from the first, or the only, activist there is. She regularly “passes the mic” to make sure that activists from more marginalized communities have their say. She is one in a long line of women environmental defenders - so in honor of Women’s History Month, the Climate Action Team wanted to highlight a few of the women around the world who have been doing the hard, often dangerous work of environmental protection and seeking environmental justice. It is a privilege to be able to introduce:

Berta Cáceras

Cáceras was a Honduran environmental activist, indigenous leader, and organizer. She was brutally murdered in her home in 2016, almost certainly for her longtime environmental activism, and in particular, the opposition she led against a hydroelectric dam on the sacred Gualcarque river (executives from the company were ruled to have ordered her killing). Cáceras was a Lenca (an indigenous group in Honduras) leader, and founded Copinh (Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras) - Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, dedicated to fighting illegal logging and other corporate environmental degradation in traditional Lenca lands. Cáceras won the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015 and you can learn more about Berta Cáceras, and Copinh, which continues her important work, here.

Tara Houska

Houska is a Couchiching First Nation activist and tribal attorney, who advised Bernie Sanders on Native American affairs. She has been on the front lines of environmental defense - at Standing Rock (against the Dakota Access Pipeline), and a longtime advocate to stop major banks from funding pipelines. Houska, like many Native American environmental advocates, is a fierce believer that we must use indigenous principles and knowledge for restoring ecosystems, and achieving environmental justice. In a recent lecture, she said “I chose fighting for Mother Earth because she IS everything. The land is the people; the people are the land.” Follow Houska’s Not Your Mascots organization here.

Vanessa Nakate

Nakate was the sole Fridays for Future protestor in Uganda for months, spurred to action by heat waves and crop failures. She, unfortunately, gained prominence when she was cropped out of a photo with other youth climate activists who were white, in Davos in January 2020. Nakate’s experience, in which climate activists of color are erased, and climate change’s disproportionate impacts on people of color are downplayed, is all too common. Nakate has gone on to found two climate action organizations in Uganda focused on renewable energy and amplifying African voices in the climate movement. She recently spoke to Angelina Jolie about climate change’s disproportionate impact on women and girls.

Nguy Thi Khanh

Khanh is another Goldman Environmental Prize winner, who founded one of the only environmental NGOs in Vietnam, which is no easy feat in a country where demonstrations are almost unheard of. Khanh is taking on the coal industry in Vietnam, raising awareness about air and water pollution and the effects of industrialization. She successfully helped convince the government to lower its coal use targets, and weathers harassment campaigns and threats of imprisonment. Khanh says she got inspired to environmental action even though she planned to become a diplomat due to ”...mostly the vulnerability of the affected communities of climate change. For me, that’s always in the frontline.” She does the work “because I want a better life for my children and the future generations. It is time to act!”

This small list is a somewhat meager glimpse into the thousands of women we could celebrate for the work they do in building a better future. Women disproportionately bear the brunt of climate change, and simultaneously lead the fight to confront the companies, organizations, and governments that have enabled the crisis. We honor their work this Women’s History Month, and hopefully, we are inspired to fight in our own ways!

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

America’s broken legal system, combined with cultural beliefs about family, pressures women to stay in violent, dangerous marriages.

GWC Violence Against Women - #1 Priority:  Reauthorization Of The Violence Against Women Act  

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a U.S. federal law, signed by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994.  It was authored by then-Senator Joe Biden (DE), and co-authored by Representative Louise Slaughter (NY).  It was passed in Congress (234/195 House, 61/38 Senate).

The law established a budget (initially $1.6 billion) to:


Extensions of the Law were passed in 2000, 2005 and 2013.  In each case, there were changes which met with varying degrees of opposition, generally from Republicans and organizations such as the NRA and other conservative groups.  

Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is on President Biden’s 100-day agenda.  Once it has been introduced, the Violence Against Women Action Team is poised to focus on efforts in support of reauthorization.  We hope to see massive support from throughout the DA membership to help ensure this important legislative cornerstone is passed.

Key Issues/Changes in 2005

The 2005 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act redefined the term “under-served populations” to include individuals isolated because of their geographic location, racial and ethnic origins, disability, advanced age, and any other population deemed by the Attorney General or the Secretary of Health and Social Services to present significantly higher risk.

The 2005 reauthorization also modifies the Omnibus amendment from 1968 on crime prevention and street safety. This is to prohibit officials from requiring victims of sexual assault to undergo a polygraph examination as a precondition for an investigation or prosecution.

Key Issues in 2012

Another area of ​​contention is the provision in the law giving Native American tribal authorities jurisdiction over sex crimes involving non-Native Americans on tribal lands. This provision is considered unconstitutional by Republicans, since a non-Native American is actually under the jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States, and enjoys the protections of the U.S. Constitution, protections that tribal courts do not necessarily enforce.

The renewed law extended federal protections to homosexuals, lesbians, transgender people, Native Americans, and immigrants.

What Happened In 2019

Violence Against Women Act reauthorization threatened.

https://www.americanbar.org/advocacy/governmental_legislative_work/publications/washingtonletter/may2019/vawa_update 

Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized.

https://nnedv.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/VAWA-Reauthorization-2020.pdf   

Positive Outcomes

VAWA provided the impetus and provided resources which enabled the building of a coordinated community response to domestic violence, sexual violence, sexual assault and harassment.  The courts, agencies of law enforcement, prosecutors, victim services, and private lawyers began together in unprecedented, coordinated efforts.

New laws against violence against women offer programs and services, including:

The following grant programs are primarily administered by the Office on Violence Against Women, United States Department of Justice, and have received funding from Congress: STOP Grants, Transitional Housing Grants, Grants to Encourage Arrest and Enforce Protection Orders, Civil Legal Assistance for Victims, Court Training and Improvement Grants, Engaging Men and Youth in Prevention, Research on Violence Against Native American Women, Safe Havens Project, National Tribal Sex Offender Registry, Stalker Reduction Database, Federal Victim Assistants, Sexual Assault Services Program, Violence on College Campuses Grants, Services for Rural Victims, Civil Legal Assistance for Victims, Elder Abuse Grant Program, Protections and Services for Disabled Victims, Combating Abuse in Public Housing, National Resource Center on Workplace Responses.

Official federal government groups created by President Barack Obama in connection with the Violence Against Women Act, include the White House Council on Women and Girls, and the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The goals of its two entities are to help improve and protect the well-being and safety of women and girls in the United States.

Coverage Of Male Victims

Although the title of the law and the titles of its sections refer to victims of domestic violence as women, the text of the operative part is gender neutral and also covers male victims.  However, individual organizations have failed to use the Violence Against Women Act to provide equal coverage for men. The law has been amended twice, in an attempt to remedy this situation. The 2005 reauthorization adds a non-exclusivity provision specifying that the title should not be interpreted as prohibiting male victims  receiving services under the Bill. The 2013 reauthorization adds a provision of non-discrimination, which prohibits organizations receiving funding under the law to discriminate on the basis of sex.  Jan Brown, Founder and Executive Director of Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women -- the domestic violence helpline for men and women -- argues that the law may not be enough to ensure equal access to services. On September 12, 2013, during an event marking the 19 th anniversary of the bill, Vice President Joe Biden criticized Republicans, who slowed down the passage of the act's reauthorization as "that kind of Neanderthal crowd."