Women's History Month 2023
We’re now entering the last week of the 2023 Women’s History Month. I trust that you’re not going to say ‘Women’s what?’ as I did, about six or seven years ago, when I first read an article that mentioned Women’s History Month.
Most people have heard of International Women’s Day, which is celebrated annually on 8 March; this day had its early beginnings in the USA in 1911. From 1980, it became the main event for the newly declared Women’s History Week, which was a presidential proclamation by President Jimmy Carter. It further expanded, and in 1987 the US Congress declared March to be Women’s History Month.
For too many years, history had mainly been recorded through the narrow and biased lens of male viewpoints with the very occasional story of a woman’s contribution, although they were still usually presented as a ‘support act’ to a man’s actions. A month-long focus on the contributions of women to history shows another side to the past, and it is observed through March in Australia, the UK and USA. International Women’s Day is still the main event of the month.
Even though International Women’s History Month has been celebrated in Australia for more than two decades, beginning in 2000, I do not recall being aware of its promotion, as I said earlier, until six or seven years ago. And this year, I have noticed far more attention being given to it. I attributed this to a wider and more publicised acknowledgement of International Women’s Day in both the general media and on the social media pages of various organisations.
Leading up to this year’s International Women’s Day, it seemed that every time I opened my computer or read a magazine, journal or local paper there was news about this day or Women’s History Month. Even television’s ABC Gardening Show devoted their 10 March programme to being hosted by just their women presenters in recognition of International Women’s Day. And the local council where I live held a special event, and the mayor handed out awards to women who have made outstanding contributions to industry, community and society. I noted a wide and creative gamut of events for 2023.
Being a history buff, I find it very interesting to be able to see more and more stories about the contributions of women to history and thus have a more balanced perspective on past events, as I learn more about what took place at that time. Even though Australian Church Women (ACW) only has a short herstory of 58 years, we have been blessed to have many accomplished and history-making members since 1965.
The 2023 international theme for Women’s History Month is: ‘Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories’. Why not go to our Honouring Australian Church Women category (https://www.acw.org.au/blog/categories/honouring-australian-church-women) and read at least one brief history of these remarkable ACW women whose lives tell our stories. From women who undertook traditionally men’s work during twentieth century wars to others participating on the frontlines of science and medicine. I’m sure you will learn a new story of these women who should be celebrated.