March 9, 2016
Yesterday was the 115th celebration of International Women’s Day, described on www.internationalwomensday.org as a ‘global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women [and] marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.’ Additionally, the month of March is Women’s History month in the US, originally organized in 1981 to pay tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.
Both of these events take place this month, the month of the spring equinox, which is a symbol of fertility, growth and renewal. It would seem that March was chosen purely by coincidence to celebrate the achievements and successes of women both internationally and domestically. However, if we take a closer look at the parallels between these it seems a very fitting choice. Not only does the third month of the year hold symbolic importance but March has been the scene of significant events in women’s history, which influenced great social change in our country and around the world.
For example, in 1851 Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, leaders in the Women’s Suffrage Movement, first meet on a street corner in Seneca Falls, New York. In 1911 The Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire happens in New York City, where more than 100 people died (mostly females), resulting in the largest female strike to date and, eventually, workplace safety protective legislation for workers. In 1933, Frances Perkins is sworn in as Secretary of Labor, as well as the first woman in the U.S. cabinet. In 1934, Babe Didrikson pitches a full inning for the Philadelphia Athletics (vs. the Brooklyn Dodgers). In 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment is passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.
Although in the US we have certainly come a long way in the fight for women’s rights, it seems that our Nordic friends have made even bigger strides. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report for 2015, Iceland ranked number one for countries where women have the most equal access to education and healthcare, and where they can participate most fully in the country’s political and economic life. Additionally, Finland, Norway, and Sweden rounded out the top four (Denmark was #14 while the US was #28). Likewise, according to US News and World Report, Denmark was named the world’s best country for women and the best place to raise children.
Do you know a wonderful woman that needs a ‘shout out’? Leave us a comment below!
Want to Know More?
Read more about The Danish Home’s legacy to Women’s History in the United States.
Read more about women leaders around the world, including Nina Bang, Danish Minister of Education from 1924-26 and the world’s first woman to be minister in democratically elected parliamentary government at: http://www.guide2womenleaders.com/.