This Month in History: Women's Edition

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Kayla Winston-Bass

Women of the past have and continue to pave the way for girls and women today. With March being Women’s History Month, what better way to honor them than with a revisit of their accomplishments? They all took place during the month of March, as early as 30 years ago to merely six years ago.

March 1, 1978 – Women’s History Week is first observed in Sonoma County, California

A diagonal view of Sonoma City Hall taken in 2016. Photo by Jim Heaphy.

Women’s History Month was first founded and celebrated in the state of California years before it was made official. The holiday traces back as far as 1909 where it was nationally observed and where women marched for economic rights. In the 1970s, feminists brought up the issue that women were largely cut out of history books despite their significance. One group’s idea was to create a Women’s History Month. It was made official by Congress in 1987.

Whereas American women have played a unique role throughout
our history by providing the majority of the Nation’s volunteer
labor force and have been particularly important in the establishment of early charitable philanthropic and cultural institutions in the country;
– Snippet of the Pub. L. 97-28, the joint resolution declaring Women’s History Month

March 2, 1903 – the Martha Washington Hotel opens in New York City, becoming the first hotel exclusively for women

The Redbury New York is a historic hotel opened by Martha Washington. It was the first hotel exclusively for women. It originally had 400 rooms but grew tremendously with popularity. The Redbury New York was important because it became home to a growing number of women who were leaving home to the professional world.

March 12, 1912 – Juliette Gordon Low assembled 18 girls together in Savannah, Georgia, for the first-ever Girl Scout meeting

Juliette Gordon Low’s act to assemble the first-ever Girl Scout meeting was inspired by an encounter she had with Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the Boy Scouts founder. The creation of Girl Scout was the start of an American movement where it gave girls the opportunity to grow physically, mentally and spiritually.

“Truly, ours is a circle of friendships, united by our ideals.”
– Juliette Gordon Low

March 21, 1988 – Debi Thomas becomes the first African American woman to win the World Figure Skating Championship

Debi Thomas started skating from the early age of five and was winning competitions by 10. She went to Stanford University where she studied engineering and continued to skate competitively. In the midst of working towards her Bachelor’s, Thomas took home the senior women’s title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, making her the first Black woman to own this status. Thomas continued to make history by scoring a Bronze Medal in 1988, where she became the first African American woman to earn a medal at the Winter Olympics.

My skating is a very emotional thing that comes from the heart, never doing it for the medal.
– Debi Thomas

Women will continue to make history. The future is indeed female.