March is Women’s History Month.
We need more than a month each year to read, study and share the many contributions of women and mothers. In fact, we’d argue that we need to rewrite much of HIStory to include HERstory.
Why is it so hard to get a handle on the female half of the world? The answer is complex.
Some theory traces deep ties to a hierarchy in the church during a time when history was fist being written. Since many of the scribes of history and science were male, and a large population of peasants did not have access to literacy tools, it’s possible this was one of the leading contributing factors to women’s obvious omission from so many texts.
Women were considered to be lustful and aligned with the devil
However other more sinister realities may also have been at play. For much of the world’s history, women were considered mysterious and sometimes even evil creatures. The origins of Western thought in the Greek tradition, which serves as the foundation for much philosophical discourse, harbored complacency, and sometimes hostility for women too.
Women’s procreative abilities, menses cycles, midwifery, and herbal magic were something to be awed and feared. Their traditions often bound them to their progeny, barred them from being educated in the literate traditions, and all too often kept them marked as “possessions” of their families and communities.
Unfortunately it is not easy to undo thousands of years of indoctrination, especially when those ideas constitute the written word informing most of our contemporary lives. Read any science, history, economic, or mathematical text book and then ask yourself, where are the women?
It is not enough to call this a “feminist” issue. This is not a feminist issue. It is an issue of accuracy. Women constitute one half of the world, yet their stories are remarkably absent. We need to do much more to create a more balanced narrative.
Here are a few organizations that are invested in telling women’s stories:
The National Women’s History Project – NWHP; LINK
The National Women’s History Museum – NWHM; LINK
She’s History – Amy Simon; LINK
Library of Congress – LINK
National Park Service – LINK
National Education Association; NEA - LINK
Follow our MOMument Trail – LINK
For more about the photo pictured here, go to LINK