5 WOMEN WHO INFLUENCED HISTORY
In March, the United States celebrates Women’s History Month to recognize the many women who have fought for the economic, political, and social achievements of women.
According to History.com, in 1978, a group of women organized by the school district of Sonoma, CA gave presentations at dozens of schools. These presentations were dedicated to celebrating women's contributions to culture, history and society. Hundreds of students participated in a “Real Woman” essay contest and a parade was also held downtown Santa Rosa.
These presentations became so popular, that in 1980 President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation, declaring the week of March 8th as national women's history week. It wasn’t until 1987 when the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March.
Here are 5 of the many historically influential women that are recognized for their achievements.
Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910)
Blackwell was born on Feb 3, 1821 in Bristol, England. She was a women’s healthcare reformer and also the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United states. Blackwell was a pioneer for women to join the medical profession. Blackwell states “It is not easy to be a pioneer but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade one moment even the worst moment, for all the riches in the world period.” Blackwell opened a clinic in New York City in the mid-1850’s that became known as the New York Dispensary for Poor Women and Children. Then in 1857, she established the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children. In 1861 Blackwell helped establish the US sanitary Commission and in the late 1860’s Blackwell opened a medical school for women known as the Women's Medical College of the New York Infirmary.
Jane Addams (1860-1935)
Jane Addams was born on Sept 6, 1860 in Cedarville Illinois. In 1889 Addams and her friend Ellen Gates Starr founded Hull House in Chicago. It was the first settlement house in the United States and was aimed for educated women to share all kinds of knowledge, from basic skills to arts and literature with poor people in the neighborhood. Addams also served on the Chicago's Board of Education in 1905 then chairing its school management committee in 1910. She became the first female president of the National Conference of Charities in Corrections. Addams established the National Federation of settlements in 1911. She also became the chair of the Women's Peace Party and along with two other women, worked on a special report called Women at The Hague: The International Congress of Women and Its Results. Addams was a progressive social reformer, activists, pacifist and later became the first American woman to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
Marie Curie, 1867–1934
Maria Sklodowska (Marie Curie) was born on Nov 7, 1987. She was born in Warsaw known as modern day Poland. Curie was a scientist, most famous for her discovery of radioactivity and for her contribution in the development of X-rays. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and in 1911 became the first person to win two Nobel Prizes. Curie worked with several famous scientist like Albert Einstein and Max Plan. Her legacy continues as she received many posthumous honors and several educational and research institutions with her name. Later her daughter Irene Joliot-Currie would follow in her footsteps by winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.
Frida Kahlo (1907–1954)
Frida Kahlo Was born on July 6, 1907 and Coyoacan Mexico City, Mexico. Kahlo was married to Diego Rivera and was seen as a feminist icon. She was considered Mexico’s greatest artist who painted mostly self-portraits. Kahlo attended the National Preparatory School where she became more politically active and joined the young communist League and the Mexican Communist Party. In 1925 Kahlo was in a bus accident that left her with a broken spinal column, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a broken pelvis, and 11 fractures in her right leg. She began to teach at the new experimental art school, La Esmeralda. In 1953, Kahlo had her first one-person exhibition in Mexico.
Rosa Parks, 1913–2005
Rosa Parks was born on Feb 4, 1913 in Tuskegee Alabama. Rosa Parks was a seamstress but was heavily involved with the African American community in Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa joined the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as the chapter secretary in 1943. Rosa helped initiate the civil rights movement and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, when she denied giving her seat to a white man. As a result, Parks was arrested and fined for violating a city ordinance. In 1957 Parks served on the staff of U.S. Representative John Conyers. In 1977 Parks founded the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development after her husband's death. She was presented with the Presidential Medal of freedom in 1996 by President Clinton and received a Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.