As we observe Women’s History Month and get ready to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, I’ve heard more than one man complain that there is no “Men’s History Month.” Why is there a month that honors women, they ask, and not men? I suppose the answer is more clear to us women—history has been largely written by men, so in that sense, every month is Men’s History Month. Plus, we women know how far we’ve come in terms of equal rights and opportunities. We are known as the “weaker sex,” and yet we’ve historically had to work twice as hard as men to achieve any kind of recognition. Heck, we’ve had to work twice as hard just to be allowed to enter the workforce!
Most adult women know how far we’ve come as a gender and how thankful we need to be to our predecessors for many of the rights and freedoms we enjoy today. In 1920—not that long ago, really—women were able to go to the polls in the U.S. and vote for the first time! It took over one hundred years of fighting for a right we now take for granted.
Women today sometimes outearn their spouses and are usually the ones who manage household finances. But that was not always the case. In 1860, New York state passed an act which would allow women to legally be able to make decisions concerning their own children! Who would try to deny us that right today?
There was a time also when we could not open a bank account without our spouse’s permission, we could not manage our own money, or even own property! That seems so outlandish now. Even birth control was out of our reach, which led to unplanned pregnancies, health problems, a cycle of poverty, and so many other issues.
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But, as far as we’ve come, we need to keep in mind that even today, not all women enjoy the rights and privileges we do in the U.S. There is still genital mutilation, women are stoned to death if they are raped, and even killed for wanting to learn and go to college. And they need our help.
Let’s teach our children, both boys and girls, our history—how it used to be and how it is now. But also how much better it could be. Women still don’t enjoy equal pay, and we are still the ones to usually bear the brunt of juggling child care and work. And there are still too many countries where our past is their present.
That said, I feel we also need to honor the men in our lives who respect us, who back us up, and who help us amplify our voices. And I don’t mean only our significant others. Bosses, coworkers, friends… While I strongly feel that behind every successful woman is the booty she moved to get her there, we just could not live without men. And maybe, one day, when we feel we’ve really achieved equality, then they can have their Men’s History Month!
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