6 Productive Things To Do For Women’s History Month 2019
Though you likely celebrate women all year round, Women's History Month in March is a unique time to remember and honor women from history who've shaped the way we live today. If you want to commemorate it with Instagram quotes and sharing some stories of favorite female badasses from history with your friends — Joan of Arc did what?! — that's an amazing way to mark the month, #noshame. If your tastes run to active stuff and you're a go-out-and-doer, there are ways to channel that energy in Women's History Month, too. For Women's History Month 2019, why not choose some productive ways to spend the month that continue to push progress forward?
While you can't go back and fist-bump all your heroes from the past, you can support the work being done to preserve their legacy and help those who work on keeping history current. Museums, online exhibitions, book reading, movies, activism and politics — whatever your favorite medium, there's a way to make some real change in March 2019 and afterwards, and learn more about badasses in history in the process. Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, there are ways to make Women's History Month a productive time. A bit of energy can have big rewards this Women's History Month, so prepare to dive in.
1. Visit A Local Women's History Monument Or Museum
Give your money and your time to local attractions devoted to women in history. There are a lot around the U.S.; take a feminist road trip to commemorate the suffragettes or the Civil Rights Movement, or visit monuments that commemorate fabulous historical women, like the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum that once housed the National Women's Party in Washington DC, or the Rosie The Riveter Park in California.
Can't go out or don't have a ton of time? Online resources like the National Women's History Museum and the National Museum for Women in the Arts are brilliant ways to learn, get seriously invested in the stories of past women (the NWHM's current exhibit Standing Up For Change will make you want to fist-pump) and maybe spend a little in the gift shop or donations box.
2. Read The Work Of Female Historians
Want a new bedtime read in March? Check out the work of historians highlighting new discoveries about women in history. It's an expansive genre and there's something for everybody; go to a local independent bookstore or library and investigate their history section for biographies of queens, fighters, artists, politicians, activists and other women who made their mark on the world.
Not sure where to start? Check out lists like Penguin Random House's collection of biographies of women in history, Bustle's own fave historical bios, or writer Rachel Syme's fantastic 100+ list of biographies about women, by women. There's something in there for everybody, and not only does it spread the word about amazing women of the past, it supports the women who work on them.
3. Join Campaigns To Give More Credit To Women In History
There are often ongoing campaigns worldwide to give women from history who haven't been given their due more credit. In the UK, InVISIBLE Women is an organization that coordinates campaigns for statues and monuments that bring attention to the contributions of women to history. In the U.S., Women.NYC's She Built NY campaign builds monuments across the city to commemorate women; Shirley Chisholm was the first, and people are able to donate to future statues. The MonumentalWomen fund is also raising money to erect a statue to suffragettes like Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Central Park, and there's likely more happening in your local area.
Ida B. Wells just had a street named after her in Chicago after a campaign by officials, which is a signal of change that can happen. If there's a woman in the history of your town or city who needs to be commemorated with a statue, plaque or street name change, get active; contact the council or local government and see what you need to do to make it happen.
4. Write To Your Reps About Why History Is Important
History isn't just about the past. It reverberates into the now, and informs us about how we should act in response to changing times. Writing to your local Congressperson, governor, representative or anybody else to express your political opinions? Take the time this month to do some research into the women of the past who've shaped your state and the world. Are your lawmakers supporting the legacy of the women who've come before, or trashing it?
Want to explain why Roe v Wade is important to you? Talk about Jane Doe herself. Protecting transgender and queer rights? Bring up Edith Windsor and Marsha P Johnson. The principles of gender and racial equality as a necessity for a free, fair society? Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, the women of the Civil Rights Movement, take your pick. These women did powerful things and remain transformative figures. Use them to explain what matters to you.
5. Spread The Love On Netflix
Your money and attention have power. Spend them in March on things that further Women's History Month and its goals. Set up your marathon early: right now, Netflix has an astonishing array of history docs made about or by women, including The Death & Life Of Marsha P. Johnson, Paris Is Burning, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, What Happened, Miss Simone?, American Experience: Rachel Carson and Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story. Over at Amazon, Lorena, the documentary on the truth of Lorena Bobbitt, is making headlines. Local museums and independent cinemas might also feature historical films by and about women during Women's History Month; grab some popcorn and grab a flick.
6. Help The Female Change-Makers Of The Future
Who's going to be starring in Women's History Month features in the future? March is a great month to set up time and money for the future of women. Donate to a charity that helps girls achieve their dreams; CAMFED International helps girls get an education, Womankind campaigns for women's equality worldwide, and Girl Effect aims to lift girls out of poverty. In the U.S., the Girl Scouts is always looking for volunteers, as are organizations like Girls Write Now. Look for chances to do mentoring, volunteer or give support in other ways to shape the female leaders of the future.
This is going to be an earth-shattering month — so let's all make Women's History Month 2019 count.