What Women’s History Month means to me
As a woman who was born in the 80s and grew up through the new millennium, I can say I feel spectacularly lucky to have been born in this period of time. Though there are many arguments and debates about equality for women and people as a whole, there is no doubt that life has not always been kind to the more feminine half of the human species. I have grown up in a period of time and in a country where I have been able to make decisions on my own, from how I dress to what job I take, without having to bow down to someone else’s beliefs of how smart, strong, or attractive I am. Women in ages before me, not so much.
And yet, great strides have been made in all facets of life by women throughout history. Whether they broke boundaries in intellectual studies or social constructs, there have been multitudes of women that I can look up to as a woman myself, and proudly acknowledge as someone who didn’t take no for an answer. The first woman I’d like to tip my hat to is my grandmother, who was one of the strongest women I ever knew. She was smart, confident, and outgoing. She never shied away from trying new things, and she didn’t let anyone tell her what she was going to do. She was an amazing cook, a great source of advice, a drummer, and my personal role model. So before I give out props to all the other amazing women in history, I give you my personal heroine, Virgie Mae Wade.
Without further ado, let’s see some other wonderful women through history.
Women in Literature
Women have crafted some amazing stories for a very, very long time. From Mary Shelley to Maya Angelou, there have been several spectacular authors who also happen to be women. This list has 102 of the Greatest Female Authors, and you can check off whether or not you’ve read their works or not. Sometimes, though, women wrote with an alias. They published their books under a male name so the public wouldn’t know the work was from a woman. Though not as popular to do today as in the past, this still happens! Women either use their initials or a completely different alias to get published. Crazy that this would still be performed today, though depending on the industry, there’s still a sexist bias.
Women in Science and Math
Speaking of bias, there’s been a lot of hubub on the internet (specifically Twitter) about women in science and engineering professions. This stems from some inane comments that a leading scientist, Sir Tim Hunt, made regarding women in scientific professions. Thus, the hashtag #distractinglysexy became a thing, followed by many more #womeninscience hashtags.
But guess what? Women have been in science for a long time. A VERY long time. In fact, some of the greatest strides in medicine, technology, and other scientific areas were made by women. You can find a complete article about them on Wikipedia. So even though it’s common to think of women coming into scientific fields within the last century, that’s simply not true. Women have been involved since the ancient times of civilization.
Women in Gaming
This is where we come more into the modern age. Video games. This is the facet in which I’ve actually faced the most discrimination for being a girl, since the time I was little. Because of when and where I was born, I was never told I couldn’t join NASA, or I couldn’t be a doctor or lawyer. I was never told that I couldn’t be an engineer, or in the military, or a police officer because I was a female. However, mostly in my youth, I experienced countless times I was told I couldn’t play video games, let alone make them, because I was a girl. I was told this from my peers, and surprisingly, from a couple of teachers. “That’s male dominated for a reason, sweetie. Video games are meant for boys.”
Well, here is a list of women throughout modern history that proves them wrong. I’d like to point out that one of them, Roberta Williams, was one of my personal heroines growing up, because I played the crap out of the Sierra games as a kid. When I found out that she was the co-founder of the company, it only made me want to prove my peers wrong even more.
While women and video games still have some tumultuous waters that are being traversed, there are still a number of amazing women who are fighting for a voice. People like Patrick Scott Patterson feature them and their stories, their hard work, and their creativity.
Who’s your heroine?
I’ve only highlighted a few fields in which I think women get overlooked sometimes, but there are plenty of other great women role models out there in all kinds of different types of career and life paths. There are women who fight for their country, fight for their freedom, and fight for their voice to be heard. Women have been fighting for a long time, so don’t underestimate us. We have a long history as half of the human populace, doing amazing things for society and humankind. No matter who you look up to, be strong, be heard, be you.