Celebrating Women’s History Month

Started in March 1987, Women’s History Month highlights the crucial role of women in history. Thirty-six years later the celebration remains vital in honoring and advocating for women in America.

The celebration of women started locally in Santa Rosa, California. Originally it was one week used to celebrate women in the education system. In 1981, Congress passed “Women’s History Week.” This was the first time Women’s History was nationally celebrated. Within six years, it graduated to the current Women’s History Month.

This month means many things to different people. Debra Gilmore from the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS) relates the celebration to women overcoming obstacles of societal gender norms and making contributions to society in spite of them. 

Woodgrove’s women leaders have created an inclusive club to celebrate women: Woodgrove for Women. Co-president Lily McBride, a Junior, reflects on what the holiday means to her: “It’s a great time to appreciate the relationships and strong connections you have in your life. It’s a time to learn about issues greatly affecting women today, as well as how we can strive to solve them. It’s important to recognize everything women do for society and how they support everyone!” 

Many organizations in Loudoun County and across the world work to provide resources and assistance for women. LAWS is one such organization that aims to provide victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse with “safety, hope, and empowerment services to live as survivors free from the effects of violence,” says Gilmore. Find ways to volunteer and donate on the LAWS website to help support survivors of violence. Monetary contributions fund free services of therapy, a survivor hotline, violence prevention education, and more. LAWS also encourages people to raise awareness about domestic violence and practice healthy relationship skills in their own lives. 

The Loudoun Coalition on Women and Girls (LCWAG) is another nonprofit organization made for and by women. LCWAG promotes personal growth, leadership, and equity for all Loudoun County women. By working to find and eliminate barriers to women’s personal and professional growth, the organization aims to educate the community on impactful issues and empower females. Some of LCWAG’s current programs include domestic and sexual violence protection, human trafficking education, and the expansion of women in STEM. Information on these initiatives and ways to support them can be found on the LCWAG website.

This March, celebrate Women’s History Month by honoring the women that bring change and hope to others, educating yourself on women’s issues, and listening to their experiences. Working to recognize your own role in perpetuating gender norms as well as their prevalence in the world around you is a crucial factor in supporting women. Gilmore encourages students to “help reduce gender-based power and control assumptions, so that someday the foundation of all relationships will be mutual safety, hope, and empowerment.”

Members of the Woodgrove for Women Executive Board at a bake sale. (Lily McBride)