by Laura Sillerman

In 1980, in Santa Rosa, Calif., five women began the National Women’s History Project. At that time, no more than 3 percent of the content of history books was devoted to women. It was easy to see why boys thought women did nothing important and why girls thought they couldn’t.

Those five women convinced Washington that the role of women in history needed to be recognized. As a result, the week of March 8 (International Women’s Day) was officially named National Women’s History Week. That wasn’t enough for them, though, and by 1987 they succeeded in having the month of March named National Women’s History Month. 

You can visit the National Women’s History Project website to learn all about their incredible activities and to read the names of the 14 women they are honoring this year, but we must go to our memories to realize the import of this work.

Thirty years ago, the National Women’s Conference was held in Houston, Texas. That was a watershed moment for the Women’s Rights Movement — a solidifying of women’s influence on government and a real turning point for women’s roles in government.

With Women’s Voices for Change, we are at another watershed moment. We believe the Women’s History Project has been successful in putting women in the history books. We are now going to put the real faces of women where we should be seen. We want women over 40 on more magazine covers, in more TV close-ups and in more screen roles. We want more media time, period.

We are the story — the ones who make the buying decisions that count, for certain, but also the ones the world comes to for wisdom beyond the struggle for power and with the perspective of compassion. We should be seen and heard.

This year’s theme for Women’s History Month is "Generations of Women Moving History Forward." In early January, we noted that WVFC was made up of many generations.  We embrace the power in that. Now is our moment to move forward for the generations to come. Now is when we must insist on our visibility and recognition of our viability.

Encourage all your women friends to use their voices to help us make history in a whole new way. Comment on our entries. Subscribe to our feed, or sign up to receive the latest blog entries delivered to your in-box (simply enter your e-mail address in the subscribe field on the left). Read our writers guidelines and consider submitting an entry. We are a fabulous force. You can make us move history even faster.

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  • Elizabeth Hemmerdinger March 6, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Laura, this is a marvelous call to arms! We’ve all been wrestling for months on how to define ourselves, sound a clear and pursuasive tone, and say what it is that we want. You’ve nailed it!