7 Ways Women's History Is Being Made Literally Right Now
It's easy to identify historic moments after the fact — the protest that sparked a movement, or a speech that inspired a nation. In the present day, however, so much information is available that it can seem impossible to sift through current events for the important bits. But even as you read this, women's history is being made. To see it for yourself, all you have to do is keep an eye on the news. Admittedly, that's mostly depressing stuff these days, but that makes the inspiring, feminist moments all the more important to notice.
First off, in case you missed it, March 1 marks the beginning of Women's History Month, aka the most wonderful time of the year. (Sorry, Santa.) The next few weeks are a time for appreciating the women and men who ushered gender equality along its winding path to the present day. If it weren't for pioneers like Susan B. Anthony, who fought for women's voting rights, or Margaret Sanger, who was arrested in 1916 for opening the first birth control clinic in the United States, it's safe to say feminists would have even more work ahead of them than we already do. (And yes, it goes without saying that in a perfect world, celebrating women's history wouldn't be limited to a single month, but since we don't live in that world — yet! — I will take what I can get while I'm working towards more.)
But women's history is far from finished. Here are seven ways it's being written right now.
Also, check out the “Feminism” stream in the Bustle App throughout the month of March for more inspiring ways to celebrate Women's History Month.
1. Viola Davis Won The "Triple Crown"
On Sunday, Viola Davis became the first black actor to win the "Triple Crown" of acting: at least one award at the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys. (Whoopi Goldberg has also won an award from each organization, but as the Huffington Post points out, her Tony was for her work as a producer, not an actor.) With her historic win for Best Supporting Actress, Davis joins actors like Helen Mirren and Al Pacino.
2. Democratic Women Honored Suffragettes
During Donald Trump's address to Congress on Tuesday night, you may have noticed the veritable sea of women wearing white in the audience. As House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi's tweet explains above, the fashion choice was intended to show support for women's rights during Trump's speech. The color is a nod to the suffragette movement, whose members often used white to symbolize purity as they fought for the right to vote. Although the future of women's rights (and, for that matter, the future of the rights of pretty much everyone who isn't a straight, white, cisgender man) is uncertain under Trump's administration, it's clear that some women in Congress will stand for the progress made by feminists.
3. LEGO Is Making "Women of NASA" Minifigs
It's no secret that the toys we play with as children shape our interests as we grow older, particularly in regards to the development of gender identity. That's why it's so cool that on Wednesday, LEGO announced the creation of a Women of NASA set of figurines after it won the Lego Ideas contest. Designed by MIT News editor Maia Weinstock, the set includes notable historic figures Margaret Hamilton, Katherine Johnson (yes, from Hidden Figures), Sally Ride, Nancy Grace Roman, and Mae Jemison. Not every kid wants to play with LEGOs, but now, those that do have excellent role models to look up to.
4. ImeIme Umana Is Elected President Of The Harvard Law Review
In 1990, a 28-year-old man named Barack Obama became the first black student to be elected president of the Harvard Law Review. This year, the New York Times reported that ImeIme Umana has been elected president of the Review, making her the first black woman to hold the position in the 130 years of the journal's existence. I'd say it's about dang time.
5. Women Protagonists Are On The Rise
Despite pointed award show speeches, Hollywood is surprisingly conservative when it comes to onscreen representation. According to a 2015 report, just one third of speaking characters in film and TV shows were women; for non-white characters, that number dropped to 28 percent.
However, although there's obviously still a long way to go, things appear to be improving slightly. According to the New York Times, a recent report by the Center for the Study of Women and Television in Film at San Diego State University found that the number of female protagonists onscreen increased by seven percentage points in 2016... from 22 percent to 29 percent. It's still abysmal, but it's a start.
6. The First 100 Days Campaign
Despite the valid criticisms directed at the Women's March on Washington, the fact remains that the protest was historic for its size and the swiftness of its organization. (Plus, it provided a much-needed opportunity to poke fun at the attendance of Trump's inauguration.) Weeks after the protest itself, the Women's March continues to influence politics with its 10 Actions / 100 Days campaign, which seeks to continue the political momentum of the march.
7. Women Senators Are Shattering The Glass Ceiling
Although the number of women elected to Congress remained even with the last election, the makeup of our women representatives changed to include more women of color and minorities — an enormous huge step forward for equality. Illinois' Tammy Duckworth, for example, is a double amputee, and Pramila Jayapal is the first woman of Indian descent to be elected to the House of Representatives. Perhaps most notably, Catherine Cortez Masto won Nevada in November to become the first ever Latina Senator. Can I get a round of applause?