March is National Women’s History Month

“Women’s Education, Women’s Empowerment”

This year The National Women’s History Project (NWHP) celebrates those women who have “inspired innovation through imagination”.   They recognize in particular eighteen women with major achievements in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and provide a timeline of women who have been awarded the Nobel Prize in the Sciences.

In January, young girls and women in our area could find inspiration in the pages of a local You can do itnewspaper that recognized the achievements of two young women [see JMU’s website] who—along with 10 recipients statewide—were honored with the 2013 Outstanding Faculty Award by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.  It is not only their gender but also their fields of study that are particularly inspiring to women:  Olga Pierrakos is an associate professor of engineering and Laura Taalman is a professor of mathematics and statistics.  Both their careers and their achievements are perfect examples of those women featured this year by the National Women’s History Project.

The Library of Congress has also established a webpage to celebrate Women’s History Month.  Their focus is on “education as the empowering force behind the advancement of sufferage 3women”.  The editors of the site and NWHP note that women now outnumber men in American colleges nationwide and that this reversal of gender gap is a very recent phenomenon.  In fact, it is important for all of us to remind ourselves, our daughters, and our granddaughters, that the right for women to vote in a Federal election was granted by the 19th Amendment  in 1920, when many of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers would finally have been eligible to register and to proudly hang this paper banner [shown at right] in the front window of their home.

We encourage you to visit the library and check out our many resources on notable women.  There are role models from literature to real life…Anne of Green Gables to Hermione Granger…Rosa Parks to Hilary Clinton.  And then, to test your knowledge of the achievements of the many American women who have made significant contributions to our nation and to all mankind, we challenge you to take this quiz provided by The National Women’s History Project.  YOU CAN DO IT!