I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a sister. But first and foremost I am a woman. This fact is important as the day I write this column is March 1, the start of the celebration of Women’s History Month. I wonder how many people even know March is Women’s History Month, or even care?
Historically, women have had to fight for basic rights and freedoms, and have to still work harder for recognition of their talents and contributions to the larger world.
Nearly 500,000 women marched in Washington D.C. in January and it was estimated as many as five million women marched worldwide. Women walked to raise their collective voices and be heard about not only respect, but also to advocate for legislation and policies regarding women’s rights. Some of you may ask why women’s rights have anything to do with real life?
Women still make 78 to 82% of an average man’s pay for the same job that is full-time, year-round. Politicians have long claimed raising women’s pay would hurt businesses, causing them to raise prices, which the consumer would ultimately pay for. In fact, studies have shown higher salaries mean more money to spend, equating to a boost in our economy. By the way, politicians use the same argument against raising the minimum wage.
Women make up more than half the population, yet are only represented by about 20% of the members of the U.S. Congress. Minnesota fares better, as 30% of their legislators are women. Legislatures in only three states mandate teaching Women’s History in K-12 classes. Minnesota is not one of them.
So why is it important to study women’s history, and celebrate Women’s History Month? The National Women’s History Project states, “History must tell the whole story. For girls, knowing women’s achievements expands their sense of what is possible. For all of us, knowledge of women’s strengths and contributions builds respect and nourishes self-esteem.”
Women may not always feel they have a voice, but they have the power to make change. Start with your daughters and granddaughters and nieces; all of the girls in your life. Give them messages of empowerment. They are the future. Let them know they can do anything they set their minds to. Encourage them to compete in otherwise male-dominated fields, such as science and math and business, if their strengths lie in these areas.
Check out your school and town libraries and encourage them to order and display books about the achievements of women and books with girls as strong role models. Every library should have displays celebrating Women’s History Month during March. If not, request it.
If you wish to know more about Women’s History, check out the National Women’s History Project website, www.nwhp.org. If you Google Women’s History Month, many interesting sites are available. You may be amazed at the breadth and scope of women’s accomplishments.
Cheesy Portobello Mushrooms
Dip slices of Portobello mushrooms in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Then dip the mushrooms into a mix of egg, yogurt, and a little milk, to thin to the right consistency. Finally, dip the mixture in Panko or cornflakes or Italian bread crumbs. Fry the mushrooms in oil (we use coconut oil) for 3 min. on medium heat. Then flip over and sprinkle Parmesan or Asiago cheese on top and heat for three more minutes. Serve with a little of Frank’s hot sauce on top, if you so desire. Enjoy!