March is Women’s History Month! This month over our social media, as well as here in the Library, we’ll be showing off some amazing resources that touch on all things Women’s History-—famous inventors, authors, and other women who have made leaps and bounds throughout history, all for the sake of equality.
Women’s History Month started as a small, week long event tied to International Women’s Day (March 8th.) It was lead by Gerda Lerner, who is now known as one of the pioneers of the academic field of women’s history, and began to grow traction when the participants of the event realized how popular it was. Eventually, it was recognized as Women’s History Week in a Californian state in 1978, only to be promoted on a presidential level to National Women’s History Week in 1980. Years passed, and more localities began to have events to commemorate the week, some of them extending through the entire month. As the movement continued to grow, it was only a few years later that the National Women’s History Project petitioned for the month of March to be designated as Women’s History Month. And in 1987, that was exactly what happened!
Here in Canada, Women’s History Month Canada is in October, and had a very similar beginning. In 1992, October was chosen instead of the traditional March, to coincide with October 18th, the anniversary date of Edwards v. Canada, more commonly known as the Persons Case. The Persons Case was a huge breakthrough in regards to women having the same amount of power in political settings, and set the groundwork for many women who work as government appointed officials. The month of October also coincides with International Day of the Girl, which is a day that is observed by the United Nations to help push and champion girl’s and women’s rights in, but not limited to: education, law, nutrition and healthcare.
Since then, Women’s History Month has been celebrated in many different ways and in many different countries! Conventions, exhibitions, and other activities have been planned all around the world, mostly focusing on a specific theme each year. 2020 was Valiant Women of the Vote, which focuses on the Women’s Suffrage Centennial, in which one hundred years ago women finally got the right to vote in the United States. 2021 was a continuation of that theme, entitled Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced. 2022’s theme is Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope, with a focus on women in healthcare and healthcare related STEM positions.
Some famous women who invented major technologies in healthcare and STEM related fields include:
- Virginia Apgar, the inventor the APGAR score for newborn babies
- Hedy Lamarr, who invented the beginnings of technology that helped create the GPS, Wi-fi, and Bluetooth
- Ada Lovelace, who is credited with writing the world’s first computer algorithm
- Letitia Geer, the inventor of the medical syringe that could be used with only one hand
- Ida Hyde, who while working with cells molecular structures, invented the first micro-electrode
- Rachel Fuller Brown & Elizabeth Lee Hazen, who both worked together to create one of the first effective anti-fungal drugs
- Mary Sherman Morgan, who created Hydyne, a type of rocket fuel
- Stephanie Kwolek, the inventor of the Kevlar fiber which is used in bullet-proof vests
- Ann Tsukamoto, her work with stem cells lead her to co-patent the process of stem cell isolation
- Patricia Bath, the first African-American person to receive a patent for a medical purpose, which ended up with the creation of the Laserphaco Probe
There are so many things, from high-powered lasers that are used in eye surgeries, to items we use in everyday life, that we have women to for!
Since there are so many amazing women to celebrate during this month, we here in the Library have put together a few different resources to take a look at too! Below is a book list that is all about women:
Through feminist eyes: essays on Canadian’s women’s history by Joan Sangster — HQ 1453 S17 2011
U.S. women’s history: untangling the threads of sisterhood by Leslie Brown, Jacqueline L Castledine, Anne M Valk — eBook
Becoming by Michelle Obama — E909.O24 A3 2018
Viola Desmond: her life and times by Graham Reynolds, Wanda Robson — FC2346.26 .D48 R49 2018
She persisted around the world: 13 women who changed history by Chelsea Clinton, Alexandra Boiger — 305 Cli
100 more Canadian heroines: famous and forgotten faces by Merna Forster — eBook
The kids book of great Canadian women by Elizabeth MacLeod, John Mantha — 971.009 Mac
Nellie McClung, the complete autobiography: Clearing in the west and the stream runs fast by Nellie L McClung, Veronica Jane Strong-Boag, Michelle Lynn Rosa — PS 8525 C58 Z53 2003
A reconstructed world: a feminist biography of Gertrude Richardson by Barbara Ann Roberts — eBook
Have a knowledgeable and inspiring Women’s History Month! Check us out @mhclibrary on Instagram for more information and posts!