Women’s History Month:
Stories from Jessica Dumitru, Rita Waller, Aubrey Williams, America Henry
POP QUIZ: What elite body of the world’s most democratic government still has a conspicuous scarcity of women in today’s modern era?
ANSWER: The United States Senate, of course, which is one of the most traditionally male dominated workplaces in American history.
The Senate has an unflattering age-old reputation of being a “Good ‘Ole Boys Club” comprised mainly of privileged rich white men. In fact, women’s representation in the Senate has been dismally low for over 200 long years — even though women now comprise half of the U.S. labor force and earn more college degrees than men, according to government data.
Yet there’s one female former senator who has been an unsung hero and trailblazer for women’s rights inside and outside the U.S. Capitol for decades. She recently resigned from the 114 Congress after becoming the longest-serving woman in Congressional history (House and Senate combined).
Nevertheless, few Americans outside of the Washington-DC area know her name — much less her groundbreaking achievements for women in a legislative body dominated by men for 228 years and counting.
March is Women’s History Month.
I had that in mind when I started writing on the significance of that recognition. That is until I came across an eye opening piece, “The boys are not right,” in the February 21 issue of The New York Times by Michael Black. He wrote it in part in response to the recent shootings in Florida where 17 students lost their lives. The shooter –as is the case with the majority of mass shootings in America – was a young man.
Men feel isolated, confused and conflicted about their natures. Many feel that the very qualities that used to define them — their strength, aggression and competitiveness — are no longer wanted or needed; many others never felt strong or aggressive or competitive to begin with. We don’t know how to be, and we’re terrified.
Is women’s history and Women’s History Month still relevant today? Is the need for sisterhood activism over as some say? We look back at the first group to advocate for women’s right to vote nationally and see that it was ultimately successful. The Seneca Falls Woman’s Rights Convention was held long ago in1848. But the words of its organizer Elizabeth Cady Stanton still hold true and yet are still controversial, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.”