Happy International Women's Day!
So, what exactly is International Women's Day? Well, it's a day devoted to celebrating women and their achievements. That's all. March 8th is recognized by the UN as Women's Rights and International Peace Day.
Now that we know what it is, why do we celebrate it?
Because it's important to recognize the women who helped get us to this point and encourage us to keep going forward.
It's important because we're coming up on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. You know, the one that said ladies can have an opinion about who is in charge of laws and stuff.
It's important because, until the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, women weren't allowed to get credit cards in their own names. My friend, Samantha, mentioned that, "Well, actually, exceptions were made for widows." And then we laughed and laughed over our beer and guacamole about how she accidentally mansplained me.
It's important because the first woman who ran the Boston marathon, Katherine Switzer, had to register under her initials and the organizers actually tried to stop her mid-run. To their credit, her male running buddies didn't let it happen. This was in 1967; the marathon officially allowed women in 1972.
It's important because, though pretty much everyone has benefited from her in some way, most people have no idea who Henrietta Lacks is. Her cervical cells were taken from her without permission. Because she was a patient on the public ward, meaning she was poor and not likely to pay her bill, the doctors at Johns Hopkins felt entitled to her cells; they saw it as a form of payment. Her stolen cells were used to develop the polio vaccine as well as most modern medicine, they have been used in cancer research (highly unethical cancer research), gene mapping, fertility treatments, the effects of different chemicals on human cells, and they've even been sent to the moon to study the effects of space travel on the cellular level. Ethically, there is just a lot wrong with this story. If you're interested, read this book.
It's important because, six months ago, my husband had to come to the DMV to confirm my identity before I could apply for a lost title.
Yes, in the hundred years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, we've made progress; but, in the whole scheme of things, we still have work to do. Today, though, take a moment to recognize the women in your life. Sure, they probably didn't unknowingly contribute to the development of the polio vaccine or bust through the glass ceiling of the running world, but we've all done something worth recognizing.
Oh, before you get all bent out of shape, International Men's Day is November 19th.