Guest column: Celebrate women in history

March is National Women’s History Month. Call your gal pals and go out to dinner to honor and remember the fabulous females of the past and present.

The 2019 Women’s History Month theme is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence.” The theme honors “women who have led efforts to end war, violence, and injustice and pioneered the use of nonviolence to change society.”

In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week.

History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump have issued proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in commemorating the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

The 19th Amendment passed in 1920 giving women the right to vote. Organized efforts began in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention in New York. Organized by activists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, the convention started the women’s suffrage movement.

The Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative illuminates women’s pivotal roles in building and sustaining our country and will expand what we know of our shared history.

Women have made valuable contributions during wartime, both in the civilian and military realm. No matter what the role — military personnel, pilots, nurses, journalists, or factory workers — women’s experience of war remains an important and sometimes overlooked aspect of U.S. history.

“Women’s history is full of amazing stories of both ordinary and extraordinary people. Instead of revealing a singular “womanhood,” women’s history makes the diversity of the American experience more visible. While women often faced social constraints and could be restricted by conventional ideas about gender roles, the realities of women’s lives have never been neatly confined to the “domestic” spaces of the home. They have been active participants in American society—as political activists, intellectuals, innovators, entrepreneurs, laborers, and educators.”

Ohio’s Women

A round of applause for the women in Ohio’s history.

A panel of women veterans who served our country will were expected to tell their stories in a panel discussion sponsored by the Ohio Department of Veterans Services in honor of Women’s History Month on March 22 in the Ohio History Center auditorium in Columbus. More than 67,000 women veterans reside in Ohio. They have served with distinction in every war in a variety of capacities and became casualties or prisoners of war.

Internationally famous was Newark, Ohio native Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world. Beginning and ending her ground-breaking 1964 flight in Columbus, Mock piloted a single-engine Cessna 180 named the “Spirit of Columbus” and logged 22,860 miles in 29 days. During that global journey, she became the first woman pilot to solo over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and when Mock winged her way from Honolulu to Columbus in 1966, she set the record for the longest nonstop flight by a woman.

Born in Lorain, Ohio, Toni Morrison is a renowned American novelist most known for her award-winning tale, “Beloved.” This true story of an enslaved black woman won Morrison the Pulitzer prize and the American Book Award in 1988. She also later won the Nobel Prize in Literature and was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, and educator. She lives in Southern Ohio.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, and educator. She lives in Southern Ohio.