Wonder Women: Visionary women honored in 2019
Think about the women in your life: Your mother, grandmother, aunts, maybe a teacher. Are they admirable people? Are they strong and hard-working? March is Women’s History Month, when the accomplishments of women such as these are celebrated.
Why women’s history
You may be surprised to hear this, but there was a time, not too long ago, when women weren’t allowed to do things you’d think of as common today. As recently as 1974, women weren’t allowed to get credit cards in their own names. Until 1972, women weren’t allowed to run the Boston Marathon — and even then, they couldn’t buy athletic shoes designed for women until the 1980s. Women weren’t allowed to attend a military academy until 1976, and were banned from fighting in combat until 2013. At one point they weren’t allowed to be lawyers, and they weren’t allowed to serve on juries.
But as laws changed and people began to take notice of contributions women had made over the years, it became more and more important to note the accomplishments of great women. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter began Women’s History Week at the beginning of March, which became Women’s History Month a few years later. Every year, Women’s History Month has a theme. This year, it’s “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence.”
Champions of Peace and Nonviolence
Let’s look at some of the great women in history who have fought against war and injustice.
- Jane Addams (1860–1935) was a social worker who fought for the women’s right to vote and was a co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that fights for the rights of all people.
- Nellie Bly (1864–1922) faked a mental illness in order to get into and expose violence to patients at a mental institution.
- Coretta Scott King (1927–2006) was the wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. She worked side-by-side with him and, after he was assassinated in 1968, she continued their fight for equality.
- Sophie Scholl (1921–1943) was a member of the White Rose, a nonviolent group dedicated to resisting Nazi rule in Germany. After she was caught distributing pamphlets designed to get support for her group, she was executed.
- Lillian Wald (1867–1940) was a nurse who believed every person was entitled to health care, no matter how who they were or how much money they had. One of her accomplishments was helping to get nurses into every school, so if you’ve ever had help from a school nurse, you have Lillian Wald to thank.