What interesting facts have you discovered inside this Women’s history month? It is always interesting to peer back to what we perceive as a celebration today.
The first Women’s history celebration was held in 1978,as a local celebration by the Education Task Force in Santa Rosa, California, but quickly spread throughout the country.
The actual history of Women’s History Month is quite deep, with dark roots in socialist and labor movements. The original Women’s Day was created in 1909. Over 20,000 women in New York’s textile factories went on strike protesting their 12 hour work days, low pay, mistreatment and poor working conditions. This was one of many strikes held by women in the labor force since the 1800’s.
In the years that followed, groups continued to honor the day as an annual event. First, extending it to a week in 1980. Finally gaining official recognition as National Women’s History Week by President Jimmy Carter in 1980. As the celebrations grew, women’s groups and historians began to work together to lobby for national recognition and for the entire month of March to be recognized as Women’s History Month.
I discovered prior to all of these events, there was a statue dedicated to Freedom, Triumphant in War and Peace in the likeness of an Indigenous woman on top of the White House with many traditions embedded into her.
What I always thought was a plain spire, or a simple lightning rod is actually a 15,000 pound statue that was cast in bronze over 160 years ago.
The woman is over 19-feet tall, designed by Thomas Crawford. Representing many different things to many different people, Crawford gave her a helmet encircled with stars, topped with an eagle’s head and spray of feathers.
In addition, he carved a fur-fringed blanket that is meant to represent the protections that are often afforded by governments. She also carries a sheathed sword, a shield of the United States with the stars and stripes along with a laurel wreath and olive branch. Her brooch is even engraved with the letters US.
Throughout our nation, many statues of historic figures can be found in public spaces. They symbolize Liberty, Justice, Freedom, History, Peace and Hope. Although most are of men.
The lack of women’s representation in monuments and statues has spawned a flurry of efforts to correct this glaring disparity. From congressional commissions to individual initiatives, the issue of underrepresentation has become a hot-button issue.
A recent survey by the Smithsonian American Art Museum revealed that only 10% of US outdoor sculpture portraits feature women. This statistic is alarming, especially when you consider the importance of women throughout our country’s history.
In recognition of the Statue of Liberty, the Freedom, Triumphant in War and Peace female statue, there are notable exceptions. One is a 14-foot-tall statue in New York City’s Central Park that honors three 19th century advocates for women’s rights: Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, which is the first statue in the park to celebrate real women rather than a fictional character such as Alice in Wonderland.
The statue was commissioned by the non-profit Monumental Women as part of its effort to “break the bronze ceiling” and commemorate women’s history in public spaces. It originally included just Stanton and Anthony, but the organization later decided to add Truth, a black woman who escaped slavery and campaigned for women’s rights. She was the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress. She also served as the first woman president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
It seems we are living in a time that would create more leadership opportunities for women, as other countries around the world have done. It will be interesting to watch the young women of today reach new heights as ceilings continue to be broken, gender gaps close, and maybe the US can make the list of the top ten countries in regard to gender equality.
You can read more about the role women have played in history, especially with ancient healing practices here: https://usdailyreview.com/your-current-medicine-may-be-ancient-medicine/.
Wendy Bjork, founder of HeartsofWellness.com/you is a pioneer in advocacy and mentorship. Wendy is leading a global revolution of women walking in purpose and peace as she illumines their path ahead with the light of HOPE: Harmony, Options, Peace & Empowerment.
She empowers women to step into their boldness, stand in their resilience and own their Truth. Through Wendy’s guidance, they are finally seen, heard and understood.
Wendy has authored two books and co-authored a third, “Fired Up!,” a #1 International bestseller. She is a regular contributor on the PriceofBusiness.com digital platforms and to the National MS Society’s Momentum Magazine. She is regularly invited on discussions, podcasts, interviews as she shares her story and hope to inspire others.
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