In 1987, Congress for the first time designated the month of March Women’s History Month. For the next 26 years Congress has continued to pass authorizing legislation allowing the President to declare March Women’s History Month. This time provides us an opportunity to remove the filters and add perspective to our histories, our familial stories and even our personal narratives.
On the National Women’s History Project’s webpage there is a quote: “Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worth less.” (Myra Pollack Sadker). It’s a powerful message and a reminder of why there is a responsibility among all of us to share the stories of women and their leadership, discovery and courage. Something the NWHP says on their site that I find true in my work is, “history helps us learn who we are, but when we don’t know our own history, our power and dreams are immediately diminished.” History is about the possibilities. It supports seemingly impossible dreams by highlighting the risks and rewards that have come before.
One place we can all have impact on removing filters and sharing stories is within our own families, with our grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts. Learning about the experiences of the women in your life will help you to see the filters in which you have come to view these women. It will help you to begin to identify within their stories the challenges they have overcome and provide better understanding of the choices in their life.
Sometimes we hide these stories from our families out of fear of damaging an image of who we think they see us as. Don’t be scared! Find courage to share your own narrative whole-heartedly. Even if it’s a hard story that has you wrestling with shame and fear of not being good enough, there is much to be learned and there is great strength in your story.
The stories we tell are often through a filter. Women's History month is a reminder to see that filter & we can go beyond March to do that.
— Kathleen Schafer (@LeadConn) March 31, 2014
The nice things about stories is when you share them, you have the power to share not only the historical facts, but the impact of those facts and how you have chosen to allow them to shape your life. That choice is not a single choice, but one you make every day. Women’s history month is reminder that the facts of history, the stories we tell, are often through a filter. It is a reminder to see that filter. It is an encouragement to make the choice to reshape our experience with history, with women, with our families and with ourselves. And we don’t need the month of March to do that.