Celebrating Women Trailblazers
Every March, Women’s History Month is celebrated to honor women’s contributions and accomplishments in science, politics, sports, entertainment, and many other fields. It was initially celebrated across just one week, and organizers in countries worldwide selected the week of March 8th to correspond with International Women’s Day. In 1980, after celebrations spread across the US, Former President Jimmy Carter declared the week of
Photo obtained from PBS
March 8th as National Women’s History Week. In 1987, Congress declared the entire month of March as Women’s History Month.
During this month, we honor legacies of women who came before us and led the charge for change. Countless extraordinary women are associated with Women’s History Month and amongst them include environmental activist Greta Thunberg, first national poem Laureate Amanda Gorman, Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg, activist for female education Malala Yousafzai, and four-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka.
Greta Thunberg is an 18-year-old who inspired an international movement to fight climate change. She was named as TIME’s Person of the Year in 2019. She came to international attention when she started skipping her Friday classes each week to campaign outside the Swedish Parliament with a sign reading “Skolstrejk för Klimatet:” or “School Strike for Climate.”
“I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.” - Greta Thunberg.
Amanda Gorman is recently known for the incredible poem she read at President Biden’s inauguration, The Hill We Climb, and from her appearance at the 2021 Super Bowl. The Los Angeles native and Harvard graduate has been internationally recognized for her grace, talent, youth literacy, and activism for racial and gender equality.
“When the day comes, we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid./ The new dawn balloons as we free it./ For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it./ If only we’re brave enough to be it.” - “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her life fighting for women to be treated equally and, in doing so, has become an inspiring role model for women and girls around the world. She devoted her career to being a lawyer and invented, wrote, and defended laws that advocated for women’s rights. While fighting against sex-based discrimination, she also passionately fought for the rights of the LGBT community, undocumented people, and disabled people.
“I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has.” - Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Malala Yousafzai’s accomplishments include winning the Nobel Peace Prize, writing a bestselling memoir, and becoming a renowned education activist worldwide. When she continued to pursue her education despite the Taliban’s invasion, she was confronted by a gunman and shot her in the left side of her face; she was then flown to the UK to undergo surgery. She used her experience to speak out about education for young girls in developing countries. She even started her own non-profit, the Malala Fund, which aims to give underprivileged girls everywhere, a chance at the future they deserve.
“I truly believe the only way we can create global peace is through not only educating our minds but our hearts and our souls.” - Malala Yousafzai.
Naomi Osaka is a Haitian and Japanese professional tennis player who proudly embraces her culture while using her platform to speak out about gender equality and women’s leadership. At just 23, along with her four Grand Slam titles, she is the reigning champion at the US and Australian Opens.
“I hope it’s an inspiration to a young girl with big dreams to know that anything is possible” -Naomi Osaka.
World History teacher Mr. Drago shares, “I am always impressed with women who used their power and overcame the limitations societies imposed on them at the time. I am reading the book Sweet Taste of Liberty, which is about Henrietta Wood’s life, a slave who was sold countless times and eventually sued her owner and won. The money she won helped subsequent generations of her family to become very wealthy and powerful. Compelling women, we would never know about unless we shifted our focus to include the lives of women who have been overlooked for too long.”
Gahr High School celebrated Women’s History Month with two activities; an Inspirational Women Photo Submission and Weekly Facts. For the Photo Submission, students submitted a photo of an inspiring woman in their lives along with a few sentences expressing what they mean to them; their submissions were later created into a collage. The weekly facts were posted every Wednesday on the streams of all Homeroom Google Classrooms.
Taimeem Hossain, one of the coordinators of these activities, expresses, “Women's History Month to me is actively celebrating and honoring the women who came before us and who will come after us. It is a month to showcase that we are not below nor above anyone but rather capable of the same things. I hope the photo submission of an important woman in your life will help our Gladiators recognize and celebrate the strong women around them.”
While the annual celebration of Women’s History Month gives us a chance to amplify phenomenal women’s work and achievements, it is also important to remember to appreciate female role models every day, no matter the time of year.