is Women’s History Month, offering the opportunity to highlight important and often unacknowledged female figures in history, from activists to lawmakers to the historians that study them.
As we approach the centennial of women’s suffrage in the U.S., it is important to understand the long battle
that women fought to secure their right to vote. The fight for women’s suffrage was more brutal
than one might think, as women were beaten, imprisoned, and force-fed in a “cat-and-mouse game” with authorities.
The movement was not without its divisions, both ideological and racial. The roles of black women, many of whom were the daughters and granddaughters of former slaves such as Julia Foote, Frances Harper, and Eliza Gardner
, show the intertwined history of race and gender in the American suffragette movement.
Over the past century, women have been able to rise to power in the legislative institutions that once deprived them of their right to vote. The groundbreaking careers of Jeannette Rankin
and Shirley Chisholm
paved the way for today’s 116th Congress—the most diverse in American history.
The approaching 50th
anniversary of the Coordinating Council for Women in History relatedly points out the history of women’s historians efforts in the fight for equality
in the historically male-dominated field of academic history itself. Additionally, today organizations like Women Also Know History are continuing in addressing
public history’s lack of gender diversity through a searchable database
highlighting the work of female historians.
Heading to the library?