Happy Women’s History Month! I am delighted we get an entire month to recognize and celebrate the many contributions of women to our history, society and culture. Women’s History Month has been observed annually in the United States every March since 1987. March was selected to correspond with International Women’s Day on March 8.
The month-long commemoration started with Women’s History Day in 1978, organized by the school district of Sonoma, California. In 1980, the National Women’s History Alliance campaigned that the holiday should be observed as a national week, and this was backed by President Jimmy Carter. Carter issued the first proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. The following year, Congress forwarded a resolution establishing a national observance. Six years later, the expansion of the event to the whole month of March was successfully petitioned by the National Women’s History Project.
Back in the day, during my career in broadcasting, I was working in a good old boys network. I would wait longer for raises and promotions than my male counterparts. I could relate to that quote about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire “Sure he was great, but don’t forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did … backwards and in high heels.”
I believe we are passed the days when the idea was that women couldn’t do everything a man could. Even the U.S. military has acknowledged that women can. Women are now able to serve in any capacity, even combat duty, and even as members of the elite Navy SEALs, although I still have trouble opening jars. I will either have to learn or just give up eating pickles.
So this March, please take the time to acknowledge the women in your life who have been dancing their hearts out while backwards and in high heels. It is not as easy as it looks. I marvel at the amazing women I have met through the chamber. The way they deal with business and life is truly inspirational, and they make it look effortless. I know their male counterparts see it, as well. Although I know from dealing with all the chamber’s male members here, they’d just prefer I’d start looking forward and trade in my heels for flats. It would be safer for us all! But I do thank them for treating me as an equal. When the smak talk starts flying, I’m as much of a target as any one of the guys. And that is just fine with me even if I have to give up pickles.
Lynne Conlan is executive director of the South Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce. Call her at 813-634-5111, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.