When the women of Sonoma County, California celebrated the first Women’s History Week in 1978, there were 18 women in the U.S. House of Representatives and three in the U.S. Senate. In 1987 when Congress passed the resolution designating March as Women’s History Month, there were 24 women in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate. As the 114th Congress fumbles its way into its First Session, there are 84 women in the House and 20 in the Senate. Women now comprise less than 20% of the institution that makes the laws of the land – the laws that affect 100% of the American public, including women and girls.
Statistically, there is some measure of progress. Still, as the theme of this year’s Women’s History Month suggests, the data are just one measure of reality.
The theme “weaving the stories of women’s lives” inspired me to go back into my own history, to untangle and thus trace the threads of how individual women – often women I know only from a distance – have influenced my learning, shaped the institutions that matter to me, made me realize my own ideas and values.
Reflecting on their stories is one way to remember that the fabric of each of our lives is created by the interweaving of some fascinating threads. These are the stories I hope to write and post during Women’s History Month.