March 23, 2021
by Robyn Baker, CPS Research and Education Associate
Every March since 1987, Women’s History Month is a platform upon which we can celebrate women’s achievements throughout history, honor their contributions to the world we share today, and uplift women leaders. It is also an opportunity to allow women to voice the inequalities and challenges that women continue to face. In this regard, it is no coincidence the month of “March” represents women’s efforts to achieve gender equality. From the marches of courageous suffragettes to claim women’s right to vote to the powerful demonstrations of “Ni Una Menos” in protest of gender-based violence, women’s solidarity has created pathways towards a more egalitarian, peaceful, and prosperous future for all. The march continues towards the recognition and appreciation of women as people; who have always deserved equal human rights and who always will.
The partnership between peoples is the foundation upon which our civilization grew into the 21st century. Nonetheless, the valuable contributions of men and women throughout history were, and in many ways continue to be, defined by gender roles. That is why Women’s History Month is so crucial. Due to the institutional and implicit ways that women’s roles were discredited, simply learning more about the phenomenal achievements and incredible lives of women throughout history is a step towards healing these systemic inequalities.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but one that seems necessary to share in the dialogue of Women’s History Month. Acknowledging women’s contributions to our history and development should not be special. It is very, very normal. Given women are half of our gendered population, it only makes sense. There would be equal representation in governance, equal participation in decision-making, equal innovation in technology and economic development, and inclusion in education and culture.
Throughout this month and year, I encourage you to think of a time and place where women seem to have been absent from the historical picture. Look into this time, dive into the materials surrounding that context, and search for the women under its surface. They existed, they were there. Abigail Adams (1744 – 1818) addressed an all-male government to advocate for equal rights for women. Her passion for change is channeled in her 1776 letter to her husband John Adams, urging him to not overlook the many women fighting for American Independence from Great Britain alongside their husbands and brothers. She is very much one of the Founders of the United States, and yet her name is often forgotten after the 5th grade. It is time we normalize the presence of women in public spaces and in public awareness.
What if the solution to climate change lies within the mind of a young female STEM researcher, whose odds of advancing in her field are disproportionately lower than her male coworkers?
As a young woman growing into our 21st century world, I am surrounded by incredible woman leaders such as Riane Eisler. Their courageous and compassionate leadership deserves to be celebrated not because they are women, but because their leadership overcame the odds stacked against them because they are women. I am so grateful for the progress that women have marched for, lobbied for, and created through their groundbreaking, glass ceiling-shattering actions. Through the cycle of destruction of suppressive gender norms, identities, and inequality, they continuously recreate a world that allows for more equality of opportunity to flourish. What if the solution to climate change lies within the mind of a young female STEM researcher, whose odds of advancing in her field are disproportionately lower than her male coworkers? Or if a peace treaty to respectfully and efficiently denuclearize can be best framed on behalf of a female diplomat, but the representatives across the table are not willing to listen to a woman’s presentation?
We should no longer feel that just a month is enough. In order to truly reverse the embedded devaluation and under-representation of women, we need to uplift and amplify the women around us today. Just as in history, there are currently phenomenal women all around the world. Jennifer Siebel Newsom, an inspiring and empowering political figure, has dedicated her role as First Partner of California to “lifting up women and their families, breaking down barriers for our youth, and furthering the cause of gender equity in California.” Her actions in office demonstrate that every public position is an opportunity to promote substantive gender equality, and by doing so create ripple effects for their community and our world. Hannah-Beth Jackson, a recently retired California State Senator, pioneered heart-centered legislation that has allowed for major advances in gender equality, caring employee policies, and environmental protection. Rickey Gard Diamond is a journalist, novelist, and editor whose work questions the so-called distinctions between people and our planet: why does our economy continue to reflect gender bias and subjugation of the environment, when our interconnectivity is the very core of life?
Women’s rights are
Women’s rights are human
Women’s rights are human rights.
Robyn Baker is a recent graduate from the Euro-American programme at Sciences Po Paris, during which she specialized in sustainable development and political science. Her studies and experiences brought her to the Center for Partnership Studies as a Research and Education Associate to contribute to the Social Wealth Index, caring economy-related projects, and the development of partnership curriculum for all education levels. She is a strong advocate for gender equity as a cornerstone of any social, economic, or political structure, and deeply resonates with the partnership model as a way to heal our histories of domination and collectively inspire and empower generations to come.