National Women’s Month

Jaina Brady and Katelynn Simon

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In 1987 Congress declared March as National Women’s Month to celebrate women’s contributions to our nation throughout history.

Women’s History Month started because of a school district in Sonoma, California in 1978. The district celebrated International Women’s Day with a weeklong celebration, ending on the last day with a parade and program held in downtown Santa Rosa, California. Congress approved and Public Law 97-28 authorized and requested the president to make the week beginning March 7, 1983 “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to designate weeks in March as Women’s History Week. In 1987 Congress passed Public Law 100-9 which made March “Women’s History Month.” and it has been that way since.

There are many iconic women throughout history that made National Women’s Month worth remembering. For example, Helen Keller, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. Helen Keller was the first blind-deaf person to graduate from college with the help of her lifelong friend Anne Sullivan. Helen Keller proved that even though you have disabilities you could still be successful like many others.

Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson were all behind the launch of John Glenn during the space race in 1961. Katherine Johnson was known for her math, her numbers and her grit. She was assigned to the Space Task Group to work on the launch coordinates to put John Glenn into orbit. Before the launch of friendship 7 (John Glenn’s spacecraft) John Glenn said to “Get the girl to run the numbers again.” As she did. That work became to work that she became most known for.

Dorothy Vaughan was promoted to lead the group of all black women mathematicians, making her the NASA’s first black supervisor, and one of the NASA’s few female supervisors.

Also, when NASA first got the machine to crunch the numbers ‘faster’ the male workers there thought they knew how to work it, but they didn’t. Dorothy went to the library the next day into the white section to find a book on what she needed. A white woman told her to go to the black section but she refused. Dorothy got kicked out while the police man was holding her boys.

When she got back to NASA that night she fixed up the machine so the next morning when the workers got there, it was spitting out numbers.

Mary Jackson was the African American engineer in the process. She wanted to take classes at West Virginia high school, an all-male school, to take the courses that were required to become an engineer. She had gotten a court date to plead her case. When that day came she pleaded her case to the judge, she said how she wanted to be the first in history to become something she never thought that she would be. The judge had said “Only the night classes Mrs. Jackson.” She proved that if there is something holding you back, try to find a way to fix it.

Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson all had a movie made about them called Hidden Figures.

In general, National Women’s Month is important to celebrate to recognize all of the work that women have done in the past. It is also important to remember the women who persevered through hard times to pursue what they believed in.

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National Women’s Month