Celebrating Women’s History

By Elise Wantling

March is National Women’s History Month, a time for focusing on the rich history of women here in the United States and around the world. This year’s celebrations are particularly special because this year, 2020, marks 100 years since the passage of the 19th amendment which officially granted some women the right to vote in elections in the United States (it wasn’t until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which outlawed racial discrimination in voting, that all women were granted the right to vote). Here at the Women’s Center, we are hoping to use our platforms this Women’s History Month to uplift lesser-known or often forgotten women of the revolution. My personal goal as the social media intern and head of the Women’s History Month programming is to teach you about at least one new event or woman of history that you did not know about prior to this month.

For example, did you know the first female mayor was elected more than 30 years before women were legally allowed to vote in elections? Her name was Susanna M. Salter, and not only was she the first female mayor, but also the one of the first women in the US to hold any form of elected office. She was elected mayor of her small town in Kansas in 1887. A group of men trying to undermine the women’s rights movement put her on the ballot as a prank.  But upon finding out she was on the ballot, she said she would accept the duty if elected. She won and served for a year, before choosing not to seek re-election.

Then there is Shirley Chisolm, another barrier-breaking woman I feel does not get enough recognition. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to Congress. She also put in a serious bid to run for President of the United States, making her the first black candidate to represent a major party in the Presidential race and the first woman to run for president on behalf of the Democratic party. In 2015 she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we will be holding a whole week of trivia on our Facebook and Instagram from March 9th to March 13th. Each day we will post a new trivia question and whoever answers correctly will be entered into a daily drawing for a prize. Then, on Wednesday, March 11th, we will have a trivia table in Royall Hall, where we will be asking trivia questions and offering prizes to those who answer correctly. The trivia table will be from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, so come on out and join us!