By DELLA HETHCOX
Throughout the month of March, communities and individuals all across the United States are celebrating Women’s History Month. From politicians, celebrities, activists, creatives and care- givers, women have made impacts on the world for centuries.
According to the Library of Congress, since 1981, either a week or the entire month of March has been designated to the history of women. It was not until the late 80s that it became an official movement thanks to resolutions passed in Congress. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama further sanctioned this project in annual proclamations, allowing March to concretely become Women’s History Month.
For the University of Mary Washington and the surrounding Fredericksburg community, the University is offering a plethora of events honoring women of the past and present. This month is unique for UMW due to its origin as a women’s college. Notable alumni like Karen Olsen Beck, the former First Lady of Costa Rica, Teresa Djuric, a U.S. Air Force Brigadier General, actress Desiree Marie Velez or journalist Judy Muller have all contributed to the history of the United States, but also to the legacy of UMW.
American Poet Claudia Emerson, who passed away in 2014 was one of the most prominent women to contribute to UMW as a professor of English and sitting as the Arrington Distinguished Chair in Poetry. In 2008, Governor Tim Kaine named Emerson as the Poet Laureate of Virginia, recognizing Emerson for her contributions to the literary world. In addition to her professional accolades, Emerson was a beloved professor and mentor for many students at UMW who had the pleasure of taking one of her courses or dropping by her office for a casual conversation.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day dedicated to “celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity,” states the official website. At UMW, students celebrated with a poetry reading by Albalucía Ángel, as well as a Ladies Lift Night at the gym.
Additionally, the student run club, Feminists United UMW, is taking the month to spread awareness about sexual health, women’s education and comedy, with a production of the “Vagina Monologues” on March 25 and 26 in Dodd Auditorium at 8 p.m. Tickets costs $5 at the door, or $3 in advance which you can purchase at the University Center.
International Women’s Day appeared on every social media platform thanks to the hashtag #internationalwomensday, as users tweeted their thanks, appreciation, inspiring quotes and photographs of their favorite women. Celebrities such as Pink and Emma Watson tweeted their support for the day and the month. Even politicians got into the spirit of the day, as presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders tweeted “Women must have full control over their reproductive health in order to have full control over their lives. #InternationalWomensDay.”
Visit http://womenshistorymonth.gov/ for event listings and biographies about inspiring women throughout national and global history.