31 Must-Read Stories For Every Day Of Women's History Month
What started out as just one week in 1981 to celebrate women and nonbinary people from all walks of life, with different cultures and upbringings, has blossomed into a full month — Women's History Month. March is now a time to both reflect on the women and nonbinary individuals who have shaped history, and uplift the new wave of feminists leading us into the future.
There are so many ways to celebrate amazing folks this month — watching your favorite feminist movies, reading some phenomenal women and nonbinary authors, attending an International Women's Day event, or just learning more about some badass feminists in history. There's no shortage of ways to celebrate women and nonbinary folks this month (or all year). And that includes celebrating women of color, working-class women, and trans women, who have often been left out of the conversation.
A whole month of recognition is certainly a step up from one week, but so many women and nonbinary individuals are working toward equality year round. Want to feel inspired? Here are 31 empowering Bustle stories from the past year for you to read, one for every day of the month. Check out the list below, and get to radiating intersectional feminism all year round.
1. "8 Women Of Color On Whether Women’s History Month Matters," by Mekita Rivas
"There has been a lot of progress in recent years, but white feminism is still a problem, and it still excludes people to a point that it becomes counterproductive," Leiva says. "If we’re only fighting for reproductive rights and other hot-button issues and not taking the time to consider the myriad issues that specifically affect minority women — trans women, black women, immigrant women, or otherwise marginalized women — then what kind of feminism is that?"
2. "Muslim Women Have Been Leaders In Conservative Fashion Since Way Before It Was "Cool"," by Fatima Najimi
“I was tired of layering and mostly tired of modest fashion not having a proper seat at the table,” says Muhammad. “The lack of representation was clear and I felt it time fill the void for millennials out there who wanted to be fashionable without jeopardizing their desire to be modest.”
3. "Munroe Bergdorf Shares How She Took Care Of Her Skin Throughout Her Transition," by Munroe Bergdorf
"The beginning of my transition was the moment I decided to start being myself. I began expressing my gender identity through clothing and makeup when I was around 18, the age at which I started to feel less ashamed of what I was and what I would naturally gravitate toward. Before then, I wasn't out. Being trans was just a feeling in the back of my head that I didn't want to admit to, but recognizing this feeling was the moment my transition began. There's a misconception that a person's transition doesn't start until they transition medically, but that's not always the case. Not everyone can afford all the treatments involved, and some choose to never embark on the process."
4. "How Women Made The Nike Air Max 97 Popular Again," by Sara Tan.
""The [Air Max 97] is just the right amount of chunky and retro — all things that people are turning back to classic sneakers for right now. Not too chunky, still kind of sleek. Retro, but ahead of its time," Evelynn Escobar-Thomas, Social Media Manager at Undefeated, explains to Bustle. While fashion's current obsession with the '90s and the anniversary have both sparked the sneaker's recent revival, another major reason the Air Max 97 has risen back to the top is in large part due to women."
5. "17 Black Women In History You Probably Didn’t See In Your History Textbook," by Ayana Lage
"I knew about Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman, but it wasn't until college that I started learning about less-famous Black women in history who still managed to accomplish incredible things. Even as an adult now, I'm still learning about revolutionary women of color who I can't believe I've never heard of."
6. "I Got An Abortion In One Of The Most Restrictive States — This Is What I Went Through," by Bridjet Mendyuk
"“I’m not ready to be a mother,” was my first thought. The second was pure dread over the uphill battle it would be to get an abortion in Ohio, one of the most restrictive states for abortion care in the country. In the state of Ohio, there are seven clinics that perform surgical abortions. There used to be more, but over the last decade, all but a few have been shut down or closed their doors."
7. "How To Make Women's History Month Intersectional, Because It's Important To Be Inclusive," by Kiersten Hickman
"The month of March is dedicated to celebrating the iconic achievements of incredible women, and the strength and impact they have brought to our society. It’s an incredible time to reflect on why women are so incredibly important. However, I think it’s safe to say that this type of theme can be relevant in so many other areas that need awareness. Which is why there are several ways to make Women’s History Month intersectional this year."
8. "Here's How Hollywood Treated #MeToo, & How It Influenced What We Watch, One Year Later," by Dana Getz
"It's been just over a year since #MeToo sprung from a viral hashtag into a veritable movement, turning more than a decade of quiet, steadfast work into a culture-wide awakening. In the intervening months, powerful men have been made to answer for what they do with that power. We've begun asking questions about which stories are being told, and who is telling them. And the response to sexual misconduct has grown from a knowing whisper into a loud and damning roar."
9. "The 28 Most Significant Period Moments In TV & Movie History"
"Menstruation is normal, but depicting it onscreen has been unfortunately taboo. From 'Carrie' to 'black-ish,' here are 28 of the most important period moments onscreen."
10. "I Can't Stop Thinking About Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's One-Piece Swimsuit," by Veronica Walsingham
"I can imagine that, for the past three decades, Ford has dwelled on her one-piece swimsuit as well, as it seems to be one of the few saving graces she had the night she alleges Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her, allegations which Kavanaugh has categorically denied. One of the reasons Ford's allegations seem so credible to some women is because they have their own version of this one-piece swimsuit — which is to say, most women can name a seemingly insignificant thing that saved them from an unwanted sexual experience."
11. "10 Nonfiction Books About Women History Nearly Forgot About," by Sadie Trombetta
"You may think that, thanks to your high school education, History channel documentaries, and Jeopardy, you have a good grasp on American and world history, but how much do you know about it, really? Take the Revolutionary War, for example. You’ve been taught time and time again that men like Paul Revere, George Washington, and William Alexander were crucial in defeating the British and founding the United States. But has anyone ever told you about the important role women played in helping the nation gain independence, and not just by watching the children and tending to the farm while their husbands were away at war? Like the male heroes your teachers and popular culture constantly tell you about, they served as soldiers, acted as spies, and put their lives on the line for something they believed in, despite rarely being granted it themselves: freedom."
12. "19 Female Entrepreneurs Share The Personal Pep Talk That Gets Them Through Anything," by Lindsay Tigar
“This simple mantra gets me through everything. When I first founded my company, I felt timid about approaching investors, but I kept this mantra in mind. What's the worst that could happen? They could say no- which is exactly the same outcome as not asking." -Eva Martin, MD, CEO & Founder, Elm Tree Medical Inc.
13. "'A False Report' Explains How The Man Responsible For The Salem Witch Trials Still Plays A Role In Today's Rape Cases," by E. Ce Miller
"A False Report — recently slated to become an eight-part scripted series for Netflix — is a timely and often infuriating read (think: those “I Can’t Believe I’m Still Protesting This Shit” posters from last year’s Women’s March.) Speaking to current events like the recent explosion of the #MeToo movement, the sexual assault conversations reverberating from the sound stages of Hollywood to the halls of Congress, and the collective voice of women being named TIME’s 2017 Person of the Year, Miller and Armstrong illuminate the history of "false" reporting — all the way back to the Salem Witch Trials and earlier."
14. "The Rule Breakers Issue: Janelle Monáe Is Breaking Rules & Creating A Space For Others To Do The Same," by Jessica Hopper
"Dirty Computer marks a galaxy shift for Monáe as an artist, both metaphorically and narratively, broaching something more earthbound and decidedly more human. “It was really about just creating more space for me and other artists, black women in particular, to create new rules. If I can’t be all of me, whatever that may mean to me during that time — where I am spiritually, mentally, whatever person I identify as — when I’m releasing music, then I don’t want to do it.” "
15. "Women In STEM In 2018 Made Major Gains & Here Are 5 Of Their Biggest Accomplishments," by JR Thorpe
"In many ways, 2018 was a groundbreaking year. For women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and girls who hope one day to be changing the world through STEM, it's been a showcase of the power of female-led science and innovation. There have also been challenges and powerful lessons, but 2018 for women in STEM was intriguing, barrier-breaking and full of new and exciting discoveries."
16. "All American," Edited by Sara Tan
"I wasn't the only one who grew up in a bicultural household, who had to balance both the ideals of their immigrant parents and the ones valued by the country they were born into. Sure, our ethnic upbringings were not portrayed on the TV shows we grew up watching or seen in the magazines we read, but it didn't make us any less American."
17. "Without This Woman"
"She was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, and she lived by the belief that you always lend a hand to those in need. The Sheltons devoted themselves to ensuring that neighborhood kids got off to the best possible start in life."
18. "'Maid' By Stephanie Land Demonstrates How Much Work It Takes To Be Poor In America," by E. Ce Miller
"For Land, it wasn’t difficult to end up in poverty. In fact, all it took was two critical and not a-typical life events: the birth of her first child and a breakup. But once Land, a then-minimum wage worker, entered the world of government aid — Medicaid, low-income housing, food stamps — it was nearly impossible for her to get out of."
19. "Black Women Are Underrepresented In The Breast Cancer Community, Even Though They're More Likely To Die From The Disease," by Kayla Greaves
"Doing a Google search of the terms "mastectomy" or "breast reconstruction," will likely lead you to a plethora of images of these procedures on white breasts, while black bodies are almost non-existent in the results. And even if you try being more specific by entering the phrase "mastectomy on black woman," a few more photos will pop up, but it's still clear that there are not nearly enough resources for black people fighting the disease. General medical diagrams of these procedures are typically no more diverse than what Google has available."
20. "12 Fascinating Women In History Who Deserve Their Own Biopics — Like, Yesterday," by JR Thorpe
"Biopics are the new historical vehicle to bring neglected women back to our notice. In the not-too-distant future, America's big screens will be showing biographical films about the likes of legendary Chinese Dowager Empress Cixi (who was such a totalitarian despot she put the emperor under house arrest ), the sweetly eccentric heiress Florence Foster Jenkins (starring Meryl Streep, no less), and Effa Manley, the African American co-owner of the Newark Eagles baseball team in the 1930s and 40s. Overlooked ladies in history are apparently the new Big Thing in film, and I'm pre-booking tickets to everything."
21. "How ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Recreated The 1950s Catskills, According To The Women Behind The Scenes," by Samantha Rollins
"Season 2 is most enjoyable when it packs up almost all of its main characters and ships them to the Borscht Belt for three episodes worth of rest, relaxation, and plenty of tomato juice. Sure, the lake views are nice, but the deepening of Mrs. Maisel's historical and cultural context through its inclusion of this locale is one of this season’s greatest strengths."
22. "13 Nonfiction Collections About History-Making Women To Add To Your TBR This Month," by Kerri Jarema
"The 13 picks below contain the lives of multiple different women in their pages. Picking up even one of this stack will give you a the introduction to tons of great women that you'll no doubt want to do even more research on once you're done. Because you can never have too many female role models in your life, now more than ever, be sure to make some room for these fierce women on your TBR this month."
23. "I’m A Gender Studies Student In Hungary & Americans Need To Know What’s Happening Here," by Rosa Schwartzburg
"National populist movements tend to be deeply tied to “traditional” gender values. This is a pattern that can be seen in Brazil, Poland, Hungary, and of course, the United States. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban banned Gender Studies (and the “genderologists” who study it). His spokesperson told CNN that the reasoning behind the ban is that it's not “acceptable for us to talk about socially-constructed gender” and that “people are born either male or female.” That language is parallel with what’s coming out of the United States, where a leaked memo revealed the Trump administration’s intentions to revise the Obama-era definition of gender to being only either male or female and decided “on a biological basis.”"
24. "5 Female Stunt Performers Reveal What It's Really Like To Kick Butt On-Screen," by Sage Young
"These women aren't only physically tough; they're also making their way in a field that is known for being tricky to navigate and low on recognition, despite the effort and the risk involved. For female performers especially, there's so much more that goes into being a stunt performer than strapping on pads and jumping off buildings — and not all of it is positive. Thankfully, the industry seems to be on the verge of major change, with professionals fighting back against practices they see as discriminatory and unsafe. But take it from these five stunt professionals themselves, all of whom speak candidly about the past, present, and future of the business."
25. "'Circe' By Madeline Miller Is A Love Letter To The First Witch In Literature," by Charlotte Ahlin
""I was just on the edge of my seat," says Miller. "I thought, there are so few female characters like this in Greek Mythology, who are really powerful, but not like, powerful with six heads who eat people." Circe was powerful because she was clever. She was skilled in witchcraft. And Miller wanted to see this battle of wits between the brilliant Odysseus and Circe, his equal when it comes to diabolical tricks and mental gymnastics."
26. "The Rising Trend Of Criminalizing Pregnancy Is Turning Everyone Into Suspects," by Galina Varchena, Amber Khan & Farah Diaz-Tello
"The trend of criminalizing pregnancy takes two forms. Either prosecutors and judges contort existing laws in ways they were never intended, or legislators propose and pass new laws that target pregnant people. Prosecutions of miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, and drug use during pregnancy — even when the drugs are prescribed and when the drugs do not harm the fetus — have become widespread."
27. "'Blood Water Paint' Is Inspired By The True Story Of The First Time A Sexual Assault Survivor Won A Legal Battle Against Her Assailant," by E. Ce Miller
"Blood Water Paint transports readers to 1610 Rome: into Artemisia’s studio where she was raped by her painting instructor, and the courtroom where her life changed forever. For lovers of writers like Laurie Halse Anderson and An Na, Blood Water Paint is feminist historical fiction written in verse, giving readers a glimpse into the teen’s most intimate thoughts while highlighting a centuries-old, yet startlingly familiar time and place where men took what they wanted from women with practically no consequences."
28. "10 Directors Discuss "Making It" In Hollywood When They Thought They Couldn't," by Rachel Simon
"If you don’t see a lot of images of yourself doing it, if you don’t have a lot of female friends who are doing it, it just doesn’t occur to you, or you feel it would be presumptuous. And it’s not to demonize men or say that they’re presumptuous, but men tend to have a feeling when they’re in the field of, 'I could do this! And I’m just gonna let people know that I can do this.' And they have the great advantage of looking like what we imagine directors look like."
29. "The Cost Of Activism For Some Women Who Protest Has Been High — Here's Why They Still Do It," by Celia Darrough
"It's like you have to look yourself in the mirror every five seconds and tell yourself, 'Do not move.' Tell yourself, 'Do not leave the front lines. Do not leave this fight,'" Harris says. "It’s an emotional battle every day."
30. "31 Groundbreaking Women From History You Didn't Learn About In School," by Elizabeth Enochs
"If you’re anything like me, then you probably grew up reading about the bravery of Harriet Tubman and the wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt. Or maybe you learned about Harriet Beecher Stowe, Emily Dickinson, or the many other successful female authors who made their mark on history. While those women are super inspiring and totally deserving of their place in our history books, we should also be teaching young girls (and ourselves) about Mary Jackson, Rosalind Franklin, and other influential female scientists from history — among others."
31. "Inside The Fantastical World Of Disney Fashion Bloggers," by Madison Stacey
"Towering a few feet above tiny plastic-slippered princesses or churro-wielding Jedis is a new sort of Disney parkgoer. They congregate at the base of any castle across the globe, sauntering in when the park opens and rarely leaving before the fireworks show. At a glance, it might not be obvious how their off-the-shoulder yellow blouse and rose gold purse perfectly match one of the company’s most provincial princesses. Or that there's anything fantastical about purple shirts paired with bright green leggings."
In addition to reading incredible feminist stories, there are plenty of ways you can take action this month. You can donate to organizations like Planned Parenthood or Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, RAINN. You can visit Women's History Month exhibits, or take part in International Women's Day events on March 8. But most importantly, be kind to yourself, and be an ally.