Tuesday, March 7, 2017

National Women’s History Month

In 1980, the National Women’s History Project (NWHP) was founded in Santa Rosa, California by Molly Murphy MacGregor, Mary Ruthsdotter, Maria Cuevas, Paula Hammett, and Bette Morgan to broadcast women’s historical achievements.

Their first objective was to lead a coalition that successfully lobbied Congress to designate March as National Women’s History Month, now celebrated across the land.
Today, the NWHP is nationally known as the only clearinghouse that provides informational services and educational and promotional materials which recognizes and celebrates the historic and diverse accomplishments of women.

Today, the NWHP is nationally known as the only clearinghouse that provides informational services and educational and promotional materials which recognizes and celebrates the historic and diverse accomplishments of women.

20 Facts About Women:

1. In 1975, fewer than 47% of mothers with children under 18 years old worked. Today, 71% of them work. In the 70s and prior, the idea of women working outside the home was frowned upon, to say the least, and women who did so worked as maids, seamstresses, took in laundry, or worked in one of the traditionally female-dominated fields. Today, not only do more women work outside the home, they hold a wider variety of jobs – some even working dominant positions in both business and the science and technology industries.

2. While women now have the right to vote, women are still heavily underrepresented in the political sphere. Currently, women only hold 17% of both Congressional and Senate seats, and 18% of gubernatorial positions in the U.S.

3. In 1950, women comprised less than 2% of the U.S. military. Today, approximately 14% of active members in the U.S. armed forces are women.

4. Over 60 percent of college degrees awarded in the U.S. every year are earned by women. In fact, women are more likely than men to get a high school diploma, and the numbers are only expected to rise in the coming years.

5. One of the highest IQs ever recorded, via standardized testing, belongs to columnist and author Marilyn vos Savant.

6. While larger numbers of women are moving into the workforce, they are still taking on traditionally female positions like teaching, nursing, and social services. These three industries alone employ nearly one-third of all female workers.

7. Susan Kare developed most of the interface elements for Apple Macintosh, and helped developed the bulk of the small icons early Mac users clicked on every day. Though Kare left Apple in the 80s, she is still working with and improving innovative technologies and design.

8. Roberta Gibb was the first woman to run and finish the Boston Marathon in 1966. Of course, she did not get official credit for it, as women were not allowed to enter the race until 1972, but her wins in ’66, ’67, and ’68 seriously challenged long-held beliefs about the athletic prowess of women.

9. Virne “Jackie” Mitchell-Gibson, a pitcher, was the first woman to play baseball professionally. While women still do not have much of a presence in baseball today, Mitchell proved that it wasn’t because they could not play. During an exhibition game, she struck out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Her performance most likely played a part in baseball commissioner Kenesaw Landis’ ban of women from the sport later that year.

10. In 1921, American novelist Edith Wharton was the first woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Age of Innocence, a story set in upper-class, “Golden Age” New York during the 1870s.

11. Queen Victoria ruled one the largest empires in the history of the world, at one point controlling land on nearly every continent. This included countries such as: India, Australia, Egypt, Kenya, Canada, and British Guiana.

12. African-American performer Josephine Baker was working in France during WWII, but not only as a singer, dancer, and actress. She was also helping the war movement, smuggling numerous messages to French soldiers. She often hid messages inside her dress or concealed with invisible ink on her sheet music. Baker’s work in the war is only part of what makes her such an amazing figure, as she was the first African American female to star in a major motion picture, perform in a concert hall, and played a big role in the Civil Rights Movement.

13. In 1756, during America’s Colonial period, Lydia Chapin Taft became the first woman to legally vote with the consent of the electorate. While all women did not enjoy this privilege until 1920, Taft was allowed to vote because her husband, a powerful local figure, had passed away right before a major town vote. She was allowed to vote in his stead.

14. The first woman to run for U.S. president was Victoria Woodhull, who campaigned for the office in 1872 under the National Woman’s Suffrage Association. While women would not be granted the right to vote by a constitutional amendment for nearly 50 years, there were no laws prohibiting one from running for the chief executive position.

15. The first female governor of a U.S. state was Wyoming Governor Nellie Tayloe Ross, elected in 1924. Wyoming was also the first state to give women the right to vote, enacting women’s suffrage in 1869.

16. The first female member of a president’s cabinet was Frances Perkins, Secretary of Labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt (more commonly known as FDR). She remained in office for the duration of both of FDR’s terms and helped put together the labor programs needed for the New Deal to succeed.

17. On May 15, 1809, Mary Dixon Kies received the first U.S. patent issued to a woman for inventing a process for weaving straw with silk or thread. Before then, most women inventors did not bother to patent their new inventions because they could not legally own property independent of their husbands.

18. Jane Addams was the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize because of her work with the Hull House (a settlement-house for European immigrants that provided educational, recreational, and other social services to the community in which it is established) alongside Ellen Gates Starr. She was a public philosopher, writer, leader, and suffragist who will forever be known as one of the most influential and prolific women in American history.

19. The first woman to rule a country as an elected leader in the modern era was Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka, who was elected as Prime Minister of the island nation in 1960 and later re-elected in 1970. She is still one of only a handful of female heads of states, though numbers are growing with female leaders being recently elected in countries like Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rice, Lithuania, and Gabon.

20. In almost every country in the world, and for nearly all causes of death at all ages, the life expectancy for women is higher than men. Scientists are not entirely sure why this is the case, but believe it might have to do with the presence of estrogen in the body, improving immune function.

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