By Janessa Rutiaga
Blog Content Contributor
Equal rights have come a long way, especially in the last decade, but we still have miles to go. There is still plenty of racism, prejudice, and misogyny present in the world. However, in honor of March being Women’s History Month I feel like this should be a time to reflect on the women that paved the path and fought for the rights of the underdogs.
One of the most famous and highly regarded women’s activist is Susan B. Anthony. She was the co-founder in the National Woman Suffrage Association of 1869, and is credited with giving women the right to vote. She also created The Revolution, with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, which was a weekly newsletter that advocated for women’s rights. She even once voted illegally in the 1872 presidential election as an act of protesting. Anthony died on Mar. 13, 1906 roughly 14 years before the 19th amendment was passed, but was still credited with its creation. The U.S. Treasury Department put Anthony on the one dollar coins in 1979 in her honor.
The woman who paved the way for colored women in congress is Shirley Chisholm. She was the first African American woman elected to congress to represent the state of New York in 1968. Then in 1972, she ran for the Democratic presidential nomination, and became the first African American candidate to do so for a major party. She advocated for the education of minorities and their employment opportunities. She left congress in 1983 to teach at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Chisholm was awarded the distinguished Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, which was ten years after her death on Jan. 1, 2005.
Margaret Sanger was an early feminist, and founded the American Birth Control League (which was the start of Planned Parenthood). She coined the term “birth control” and lived her life advocated for women’s rights to their own body. In 1912, she started her sex education campaign and wrote a newspaper column entitled “What Every Girl Should Know”. Then in 1914, she started the feminist publication called The Woman Rebel. Then in 1921, she opened the American Birth Control League and with this group she opened the first legal birth control clinic in the U.S. Her legacy left is surrounded by controversy, her fight decades ago is still a fight being fought, but her most basic principal that she worked around was “Every child should be a wanted child.”
These three women in history lived their life fighting, not just for themselves but for generations of women to come. Although, their fights still have ways to go before being over we can honor them by starting revolutions and being advocates before people even noticed there were problems. This month of March should be given to honor their lives, their work, and their legacies.
Featured image by Madison Tyson.