Saying goodbye to Women’s History Month
This March marks 101 years since women can vote, but women continue to fight for equality today.
Opinion by Cassandra Nava, Online Editor
Women’s History Month is coming to an end, but that does not mean celebrating their achievements should end with it.
Starting off as a day dedicated to women, then a week, Congress declared the entire month of March as Women’s History Month in 1987. International Women’s Day, recognized on March 8, was not celebrated in the U.S. until 1975. This year’s theme was carried on from last year’s; “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced,” as an homage to 100 years since women were able to first cast their vote.
“There have been many breakthroughs associated with the suffrage centennial because it involved many groups and government bodies throughout the country learning about the importance of women’s history for the very first time,” states the Women’s History Month website. “Now, we want to push ahead to secure the progress we’ve made and ensure that multicultural women are never again overlooked in American history.”
It is important to note that the first women able to vote were mostly white women, due to the voter suppression holding back Black votes with literacy tests, poll taxes and state laws. Although there are still forms of voter suppression today, in 2020 women dominated the world of politics. From Black women voting in significant numbers in last year’s presidential election, to Stacey Abrams getting the state of Georgia to flip political parties, to having the first female vice president.
Locally, Los Angeles County recently elected an all female Board of Supervisors. The Los Angeles Times explains that the board is in charge of the county’s $35 million budget and can control how that money is spent for one of the largest counties in the country. Women helped shape the future of politics, and their continued efforts are changing voting trends, according to an article by Brookings.
This past election, voters also voted for female LACCD Board of Trustees members. Andra Hoffman and Nichelle Hernandez were voted back in their positions as the only two women of the eight members. The district is the largest in the country, and represents over 250,000 students in the nine community colleges. The district’s board also recently released a resolution regarding equal pay earlier this month, which is intended to help mend the gender pay gap for employees within the district.
“Throughout history, women have exemplified the very best leaders, inventors, healers, educators, artists and inspirational figures,” stated a letter from LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez. “Women have courageously carried the mantle of justice and inclusion, some with great visibility and others with anonymity. This month we recognize and salute them all.”
Despite the recent achievements, women continue to fight for their rights. For every dollar a man makes, women earn on average 82 cents. The gap is wider for women of color, according to the Center for American Progress analysis.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2019, 89 percent of registered nurses are female. Even though women are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic more than men, they are not being fairly compensated for it.
The pandemic has also shifted women’s progress made by infiltrating the workforce. According to The Washington Post, more women have had to stay at home with their children due to closed day-care centers, and one in four women stated that they became unemployed due to the lack of child care — which was “twice the rate among men.” This corners women back into traditional gender roles.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated barriers that have held back women — particularly women of color — for generations,” stated President Joe Biden in his Women’s History Month White House briefing. “Job losses due to COVID-19 have set women’s labor force participation back to its lowest point in more than 30 years.”
Although this month helps to shed light on the achievements of women, they should be celebrated every day.
Rodriguez addressed the district in his letter, “Let’s take time to recognize, thank and support all of the women in our lives and workplace for their talent and their sacrifice to shape every aspect of our society and contemporary culture.”