Throughout history, March has been a time of celebration. The vernal equinox, when day and night are in equal length, marks a time of transition and new beginnings. For centuries people around the world have celebrated the vernal equinox. The Festival of Isis was celebrated in ancient Egypt, the festival of No Ruz was celebrated in Iran, and the Feast of Cybele was the celebration of the ancient Romans. The ancient Maya celebrated and Chichen Itza and in Japan the spring equinox is a national holiday called Shunbun no Hi.
In the United States March is Irish American heritage month with St. Patrick’s Day celebrated on the 17th. March is also national nutrition month, which is a little odd as March 14th is national potato chip day and March 23rd is national chip and dip day! Of course, March is also known for March Madness, the NCAA basketball Tournament, which diverts approximately $1.9 billion of worker productivity.
March 13th is World Sleep day, so make sure to catch up on your zzz’s before your bracket watch begins. March 20th is International Day of Happiness, so don’t worry if your bracket busted, just be happy!
International Women’s Day is March 8th. This global holiday celebrates women’s contributions, raises awareness about gender parity and supports organizations that help women globally.
In 1909 International Women’s Day started in the United States when the Socialist Party of America took to the streets to honor garment workers who had protested working conditions the year before. In 1975 the United Nations celebrated International Women’s Day as an official holiday.
Since 1987 March has been designated National Women’s History Month. This is a time to recognize the contributions women throughout history whose accomplishments have been over-looked and to recognize those who have blazed the trail before us.
For example, the accomplishments of Katherine Johnson did not gain mainstream recognition until 2015 when President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2016 her research was celebrated in the book “Hidden Figures” which was adapted to an Oscar-nominated film. During the “Space Race” Mrs. Johnson calculated orbital flight trajectories that enabled engineers to determine when to launch a spacecraft and when to begin reentry. If we go back to the moon or to Mars, we will be using her math.
Throughout history, women have always helped move society forward. The path has not been straight, but each step lays the foundation for the next.
In 1849 Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in the United States to be awarded a medical degree. In 1881 Clara Barton, a civil war nurse, founded the Red Cross.
Jeannette Pickering Rankin was the first women elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1916. Today there are 101 female representatives. In 1920 Women won the right to vote in the United States. In 1922 Rebecca Larimer Felton of Georgia became the first woman to serve in the Senate. Today there are 21 female Senators.
In 1869 Arabella Mansfield was the first female lawyer in the United States being admitted to the bar in Iowa. Mary O’Toole became the first female Judge when she was appointed Judge of the Municipal Court of Washington D.C. in 1921. In 1981 Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.
As Amelia Earhart said “Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”
Celebrate the women in your life and all their accomplishments, both big and small!