Celebrate the Influence of Women
Writer: Sally E. Smith
The influence of women is evident throughout the chronicles of civilization, from the poetry of the ancient Greeks (Sappho), to the military prowess of France in the late Middle Ages (Joan of Arc), to medical and scientific breakthroughs in modern times (Marie Curie). All too often, though, historians overlook the accomplishments of the soulful, brave, and brilliant women who have worked tirelessly for positive change in the world. And, the contributions of plus-size women don’t even get a footnote in the annals of history. That’s why, in 1987 and each year since, the National Women’s History Alliance (headquartered in the same city as OTPS’s own offices!) spearheaded a successful Congressional lobbying effort declaring March as National Women’s History Month.
While National Women’s History Month gives us the opportunity to honor the accomplishments of prominent plus-size women, it’s also a reminder that greatness resides in every woman, whether her sphere of influence is her immediate family, her community, or on the global stage. In celebration, why not seize the moment and pay tribute to extraordinary women?
Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
1. MAKE HISTORY. According to Time Magazine, it is currently totally legal to fire someone of the basis of their size in 49 states. Another fun fact, the Civil Rights of Act of 1964 does not recognize weight as a protected class. While some cites and only one state, (Michigan) do protect against weight discrimination of all kinds, it needs to be nationwide. What could happen if we all started contacting our city and state representatives? Massachusetts put a bill (H.952) which was an Act making discrimination based on height and weight unlawful in 2018. You could ask your representative to sponsor a similar bill.
2. WRITE A LETTER. We each know “ordinary” women who have been positive forces in our lives. Perhaps she is the teacher who believed in us so we could believe in ourselves. Maybe she is the mentor who showed us the ropes and enabled us to advance in our careers. Perhaps she is the neighbor who provided us with a safe haven when we sought refuge from a chaotic home life. Take the time to write her a letter, thanking her and acknowledging the impact she’s had on your life.
3. CONDUCT AN INTERVIEW. We often see women – especially our relatives – through the lenses of the roles they play. Yet every woman has aspirations and dreams. Set aside a special time with your mother or grandmother and ask her about her life as a girl and young woman. Who were her role models? Who was her first crush? What did she want to be when she grew up? Listen with an open heart and bring a tape recorder. It’s likely to be an eye-opening experience.
4. SHARE YOUR "HERSTORY". As women, we’re the keepers of family history and heirlooms. Plan a potluck brunch, but in addition to bringing food, each person must bring along a keepsake that was given to her by a woman in her family. During the meal, guests share the significance of their family heirlooms. Feel free to share your stories with us on our Facebook page we would love to hear them!
Every woman yearns to leave her mark on the world, in ways both large and small. National Women’s History Month is a wonderful excuse to celebrate our accomplishments, and those of the women who came before us.