In 1987, the United States Congress designated March as Women’s History Month. The goal was to create special time in workplaces and society to recognize the often-overlooked achievements and accomplishments of American women.
Social Studies teach Tabby Craddock said, “It is important for young women to know how hard others have fought in order for us to have the rights we have today, otherwise it will be taken for granted.”
This celebratory month was first celebrated on February 28, 1909 as a single day, Women’s Day. It was originally the celebration of the one-year anniversary of the garment worker’s strikes in New York. The workers went on strike seeking increased wages, reduced working hours and union representation. After a five month strike the workers agreed to increased wages and better hours. This was the first successful strike to create change and justice for women in the workplace. Over the next two years, this special day was being observed on an international scale.
According to Adena Barnette, social studies teacher, said, “Celebrating women is important because their historic roles as mother, wife, caretaker and partners were often overlooked or marginalized by the patriarchy. Now that women can shine for their own outward accomplishments in the arts, politics and academics, they hold dually important roles in our society as they are leaders, both at home and in the workplace.”
Skip forward to the 1970’s when women’s rights activists worked to recognize the contributions of women throughout history. By 1980, then President Jimmy Carter, proclaimed the first Women’s History Week to be observed March 2-6. In 1987 this one-week celebration had been extended by President Ronald Reagan. Finally, Congress passed the proclamation of 1987 establishing Women’s History Month to be observed every March.
The theme for this year’s Women’s History Month is, “Nevertheless, She Persisted,”
a fitting theme for women past, present and future.
One local lady whose contributions reflect this year’s theme is Ripley mayor Carolyn Rader. Rader has persisted through her whole life, working non-stop to be the best employee and hardest worker there is. As an elementary school teacher and principal, she has always been working for the people of our community. In 2007, she was elected mayor of Ripley and took on the highest role of our city.
“The future is what you look forward to. What did I do yesterday that I can do better today?” said Rader.
Mayor Rader says one of the most empowering things she has seen women accomplish in her life time is the broadening of occupations women have been able to secure. When she was going to school she said women had four career choices: a nurse, a teacher, a stewardess, and a secretary. Rader loves how women have any option to be whatever they desire to become.
“National Women’s month is important to me, because I am growing in a generation where it is becoming more common for women to break new boundaries and achieve greater things than they were ever thought of doing,” said senior Kirstein Templin.
On a local scene, we have many opportunities to recognize the accomplishments of women in our area and state. Here at school we can, highlight their contributions on the morning announcements or on our school website just to get the information out. Our town is known for its many public events and announcements. Our city could name one of these women to be the Grand Marshal of one of our many parades, to share the history behind their contributions on the courthouse lawn or at our local Alpine Theatre.
For a detailed list of Exhibits and Collections that reflect remarkably talented ladies, visit womenshistorymonth.gov., then click on Exhibits and Collections.