History. Her story
I realised recently that I was aware that March was designated as ‘Women’s History Month’ without actually knowing the origins of this. So it was clearly time for a bit of investigation. It turns out that once again we must thank our friends across the pond for this.
The idea grew out of a week-long celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history and society organized by the school district of Sonoma, California’ in 1978. Presentations were given at dozens of schools, hundreds of students participated in a “Real Woman” essay contest and a parade was held in downtown Santa Rosa.
A few years later, the idea had caught on within communities across the country. In 1980 President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 (International Women’s Day) as National Women’s History Week. The US Congress followed suit the next year, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration. Six years later, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March.
So now you know. There are numerous events going on in the UK this month, so many that I think you could spend most of every day in March viewing something inspiring and uplifting about women, which will nicely dovetail with our last month of full lockdown. I gather that from March 29th the ‘Stay at home’ message will be removed. Maybe. Possibly. We are talking about the current government, after all.
So here we go:
Wikimedia UK is releasing interviews with women who are closing the gender gap every Monday in March at 4 pm. You can catch them here: https://www.youtube.com/user/WikimediaUK
Alternative Arts have a huge range of events that are billed as ‘WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH in East London’. As they are all online we can become East Londoners for March. Their offerings are a complete treasure trove: there is a feminist literary festival, a jazz concert, a Bangladeshi poetry workshop to name but a few. Take a deep breath and dive in here: https://www.alternativearts.org.uk/events/womens-history-month
Our good friends at the Feminist Library are spending Women’s History Month celebrating women in music. They have a range of events planned, from film screenings and live discussions to podcasts. You can hear composers talk about the different ways in which they write music and explore the differences between classical training and more intuitive channels of expression. There will be a taste of history, looking at women composers through time and interviewing a women’s choir from the 1970s. They will be bringing together musicians from Italy and the Nordic countries and exploring local musicians and celebrating their work.
Finally, there is the annual Women of the World Festival which usually takes place on London’s South Bank; this year it is being held online from March 1-21. Full details can be found here: https://thewowfoundation.com/festival/wow-uk-2021/line-up I had a look at it and there are plenty of the usual topics covered: intersectionality, childcare, literature, empowerment, etc. All well and good, but I confess to being strongly tempted to try out the workshop entitled ‘All Cisterns go’. Maybe the time has finally come for me to find my inner wrench.