While the whole month of March is deemed Women’s history month, March 8th is international women’s day.
While the whole month of March is deemed Women’s history month, March 8th is international women’s day.
(Photo credit: Ava Radovic/Canva/Achona online)

Celebrating women’s history month with influential females

The month of March celebrates the history of women after centuries of oppression and objectification. Throughout the month, it is essential to highlight women’s impact on society across time and numerous fields. 

Celebrating the history of women began with International Women’s Day in 1911 (which is March 8th), before women gained suffrage in 1920. It wasn’t until March 1969 however, that the history of women was truly acknowledged. Then, The Women’s History Research Center petitioned Congress to declare March as Women’s History Month, and eventually, President Ronald Reagan implemented the cause into a proclamation to address the dedication of the month. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the first person ever to write for the Harvard and Columbia Law Review. (Photo credit: Ava Radovic/Canva/Achona online)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a renowned Supreme Court Justice who was notable for her efforts towards female equality. Ginsburg overcame much sexism, as it was rare for a woman to pursue law school in the ‘50s, and graduated top of her class from Columbia Law after transferring from Harvard. However, it was difficult to find a job due to her gender, and she became a law clerk before stepping up to become an attorney. Eventually, Ginsburg became the second female law professor at Rutgers and also taught at Stanford and Columbia, where she would advocate for equal pay. Ginsburg went on to co-establish the first law journal on women’s rights and also founded the women’s rights project at ACLU. Her most acclaimed profession, though, was her work for the Supreme Court, as she was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993, becoming the second-ever female on the court, and the first Jewish female justice in history. Ginsburg’s legacy has been assured through her incredible work, passion for civil liberties, and the path she paved for women in the field of law, before passing away in 2020. 

Vera Wang’s last job before designing her own line was working for Ralph Lauren. (Photo credit: Ava Radovic/Canva/Achona online)

Vera Wang

Vera Wang might be rather recognized for her clothes instead of her face, but that is just a testament to the successful empire she built as a Chinese-American designer. Wang’s passion for art and fashion arose during a semester abroad spent in Paris, where she would then decide to change her major from pre-med to Theater and Art History at Sarah Lawrence College. Though Wang didn’t begin designing until much later, she began her professional career working as an editor at Vogue. Her talent was discovered when she designed her own wedding dress in 1989, at the age of forty. From there on, Wang would be a household name in the Bridal industry, opening the Vera Wang Bridal House the next year, and eventually decided to exclusively sell her own designs. She further expanded her influence by designing Olympic uniforms for Nancy Kerrigan and branched off to different clothing items like jewelry and casual wear. Wang continues to be an influence on women across the world, as she created a successful empire later in life, and overcame the adversity of having immigrant parents before building the elegant reputation she has today. 

Serena Williams’ last award was the NAACP Image Award – Jackie Robinson Sports Award. (Photo credit: Ava Radovic/Canva/Achona online)

Serena Williams

Serena Williams is deemed the greatest tennis player of all time and has transformed women’s tennis through her records, determination to dominate the field, and her kind heart. Williams grew up as the youngest daughter of a large family, as her father, Richard Williams, worked diligently to train Serena, and her sister Venus, daily. Williams won her first Grand Slam title in 1999, before competing against her sister in the future. She would go on to win gold medals in the 2000, 2008, and 2012 Olympics, and the Williams sisters became the doubles team in tennis with the most wins in history. Williams has been named AP Female Athlete of the Decade for her records in the 2010’s. She also strives to advocate not only for women’s rights but for African American representation in tennis. Even through multiple personal and physical obstacles, Williams has consistently stayed at the top of national tennis rankings and works hard to revolutionize the sport. 

Gloria Steinem won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. (Photo credit: Ava Radovic/Canva/Achona online)

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is an accredited journalist and is known as one of the most notable supporters of the Women’s rights movement in the 1900s. Coming from a broken and troubled childhood in Ohio, Steinem began her career after graduating at the top of her class at Smith College and beginning research in India, where her passion for women’s liberation and grassroots movement would arise. From there, Steinem would work under various publications as a journalist in New York, despite being restrained from writing serious pieces due to being a woman in a male-dominated field. She gained national recognition for her article on the harsh realities of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club, unleashing the sexist background of the company, and then went on to establish the New York Magazine, where she would be an editor and political writer. To further advocate for women’s rights, she went on to co-found Ms.Magazine in 1971, which she still works on today. In addition, Steinem founded various Female-focused organizations to continue to fight for better treatment with, the National Women’s Political Caucus, Women’s Action Alliance, the Women’s Media Center, Voters for Choice, and the Ms. Foundation for Women. She created the Take Our Daughters to Work Day, a national effort to encourage young girls to work. Her lasting impact has been evident through her organizations, moving articles, and eye-opening books that continue to teach society about the importance of equal rights.

Dolly Parton is the original singer/songwriter of the iconic “I Will Always Love You” sung by Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard, which she still gets royalties from. (Photo credit: Ava Radovic/Canva/Achona online)

Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is arguably one of the most impactful country singers in history, with the inclusion of her musical records, large empire, and efforts to increase children’s literacy. Parton was born into a large and underprivileged family, where she strived to achieve something greater than what she had come from. Beginning to make television appearances at the early age of ten, Parton would go on to sign a record deal and move to Nashville as soon as she completed high school. Her first top forty hit was “Dumb Blonde”, which attacked negative female stereotypes and established her larger-than-life persona. Her music topped charts across the ‘70s, with number-one hits like “Jolene” blasting on the radio. Throughout her career, she has won an array of awards, with even eleven Grammy awards. In addition to her incredibly successful music career, Parton has continued to impact her community with her businesses. Opening “Dollywood” in Tennessee, Parton brought an economic boon to her home state, keeping true to her family and roots. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a nonprofit organization that gifts high-quality books to children across the country who live in underprivileged communities for free. Parton has stated that one of her main goals is to expand the literacy rate of children and get them to appreciate literature. Parton maintains her image through television programs, duets, and even a cake mix brand. It is clear her impact is strong, gifting America with music, movies, businesses, and her image, as an influence for young women to be strong. 

Through these women, it is clear the vast development women have endured in the last century. It is important to honor the history of women to recognize the work our predecessors put in for women to succeed the way females do today. While there still is progress to be made, it is amazing to look up to these women and appreciate their efforts in transforming society for the better, through music, sports, writing, fashion, and the law.

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