How To: Women's History Month

by Madeline Anscombe

While we believe any day is a good day to support women, this month being Women’s History Month it feels especially appropriate. To celebrate the occasion, we have created a list of ways in which we can support women and continue to make history.

Read

There is no better way to learn than to read. Whether you choose to learn about women’s history or pick up a good fiction book, I have always found that there is no better way to learn about someone (or something) than picking up a book. This is particularly important in expanding your perspective and outlook on the world. Over the last few centuries women have made tremendous strides towards writing stories about women, providing young girls and adults alike with women to look up to. I dare all readers to make an effort support female authors and narratives this month and beyond. Here are a few suggestions of books and collections that I have enjoyed from some of my favorite female writers:

  • Americanah: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: Maya Angelou
  • The Bell Jar: Sylvia Plath
  • The Awakening: Kate Chopin
  • Women & Power: A Manifesto: Mary Beard
  • The House of the Spirits: Isabel Allende
  • Hunger: Roxane Gay
  • Girls & Sex: Peggy Orenstein
  • Wild: Cheryl Strayed

*Honorable Mention: I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but Emily Wilson made history last year as the first female to translate the Odyssey (after a couple thousand years I guess it was time)

 

Watch

If you are feeling like a little R&R, don’t worry, you can still support other women from your couch! While there has traditionally been a huge disparity between the roles of men and women in film, some films and shows have challenged societal norms and understandings of women. Here are a few that I have found especially  insightful, funny, and downright badass:

TV

  • Big Little Lies
  • Insecure
  • Veronica Mars
  • The Crown
  • Bewitched
  • Orange is the New Black
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Jessica Jones


Movies

  • Lady Bird
  • Clueless
  • Juno
  • Hidden Figures
  • The Color Purple
  • Silence of the Lambs
  • Coco Before Chanel
  • The Help

Listen

I’m sorry, but who said that women in music need to step it up? As a staunch believer that Lorde was robbed this past year, I very much believe that some of the best jams this year and throughout history have been those belted out by women. There are undoubtedly gender biases in the music industry that have been endured by women for centuries and have extended into the way we experience music produced by women today. That being said, we should celebrate all of the incredible women who have brought us everything from the Bangles to queen B. Here are a few female musicians (and my favorite albums) who changed the game that you should check out:

  • Sleater-Kinney: The Woods
  • Lorde: Melodrama
  • The Go-Go’s: Beauty and the Beat
  • TLC: Crazysexycool
  • SZA: Ctrl
  • Solange: A seat at the Table
  • Norah Jones: Come Away With Me
  • Destiny’s Child: The Writing’s On The Wall
  • Lily Allen: Smile
  • Aretha Franklin: Respect
  • Adele: 19
  • Etta James: At Last!
  • Beyonce: Lemonade
  • Liz Phair: Whip-Smart
  • Patti Smith: Horses

Engage

If you have a few dollars or hours to spare, there are a number of great causes you could contribute to.  Many of the greatest social movements have been started and fueled by women, in fact the very field of social work was created by us. Susan B Anthony got us the right to vote, Margaret Sanger made birth control more accessible and Harriet Tubman made over thirteen trips to rescue slaves and propel civil rights efforts. Today, the glass ceiling serves a pertinent reminder of all that we have left to change, here are a few organizations that are working across the globe to change the lives of those in need:

  • Planned Parenthood
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Southern Poverty Law Center
  • Time’s Up
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Moms Demand Action
  • I Support the Girls

Support

Supporting women should be a tenant in your life every month of the year, but there are a few concrete ways in which you can make a conscious effort to propel women forward. Here are a few ideas:

  • Support female candidates, research politicians on Emily’s List to ensure that we continue to move forward and our interests are represented.

  • Watch women’s sports, while many believe they are not as good as male athletics, the best way to change that narrative is to support women who kick butt in their respective sports.

  • Befriend powerful women

  • Continue to do your part in telling the stories of those who are marginalized, and work towards the day we can make the women who came before us proud.

Madeline Anscombe