Women’s History Month: Do We Need Power to Make A Difference?
I’m posting this in celebration of Women’s History Month, 2022, but I’ve been thinking about it for decades.
History months always make me ponder what it takes to “make history” and it seems that historical figures need to check two boxes to make it into this rarefied, if sometimes stuffy, air:
- Do something of significant scale to impact history so future generations have a reason to care about you
- Access the power necessary to be recognized and recorded by historians
Number 2 above is the reason we have history months (not to be confused with heritage, appreciation and awareness months). Women, Blacks, LGBTQs and many others who have no month to their name have done things that significantly impact history. But the fact that they’ve lacked the power and influence to show up in the history books is a wrong that needs the righting of a history month.
How Keeping Women Out of the History Books Hurts Us All
Yes we do need to rewrite history to include important people glossed over when white men did all the historical journaling, and we need to do this because it’s not only fair to those left out, it’s fair to all of us. Putting all important people back into the history books, regardless of their demographic category, is important for everyone. Memorializing all meritorious people, including women, gives everyone in the history books more credibility, because we can believe they truly deserve to be there.
Here’s an amazing case in point. Did you know that Rosalind Franklin made the crucial discovery that enabled Watson and Crick to crack the structure of DNA? Did you know that Crick only admitted that they used her research without telling her or acknowledging her contribution after she had died? This leads me to wonder whether these men deserve all the accolades they’ve received. Maybe, but without including Franklin in the history as it was being written this posthumous knowledge merely casts doubt on them through the historical lens…
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