On the last day of Women’s History Month, I want to remind everyone, but especially women, to keep talking about our history and accomplishments even after the day is over.
Women around the world are still ignored, silenced, and even threatened or killed simply for acknowledging our importance. Despite this, we’ve persevered throughout history and continue to do so, and that’s worth celebrating 24/7, 365 days a year.
Just last week, young girls across Afghanistan were turned away from their schools after the Taliban decided to reverse their decision to allow girls to attend secondary schools. Although shocking, this isn’t as uncommon as many American women think.
According to the UN, only 39% of girls who live in rural areas attend secondary school. This has real implications for their families; Latin American and Caribbean children whose mothers didn’t have access to education are 3.1 times more likely to die than families with mothers who attended secondary school.
Women worldwide are the ones who are working to solve this problem, as well as the endless other problems we face due to our oppression.
Malala Yousafzai, for example, is a Pakistani woman whose school was burned down in 2008 after the Taliban took control of her hometown. She wrote about the effects this had on her in a diary that was published by the BBC in 2009 and worked alongside other women in Pakistan to educate women and girls despite the Taliban’s violent suppression.
After a failed assassination attempt by the Taliban, she fled the country and continued her work in the U.K., later earning a Nobel Prize. Now, she’s a UN Messenger of Peace and operates her own foundation, the Malala Fund, which helps support the educational rights of girls and women all over the world.
Since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, she’s been speaking at the UN and other global organizations to advocate for the Afghani girls who face the same struggle she did in 2008.
Yousafzai is just one example of the hundreds of thousands of women who have risked their lives to fight for our rights. These women deserve more than a month of your time.
Even here in the U.S., women face disproportionate rates of violence and are underpaid, underappreciated, and underrecognized.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women are victims of sexual and physical abuse in interpersonal relationships.
American men are often surprised to hear that fact, but women know we don’t need to look far to see how many of us are impacted by abuse and gender-based violence.
This month, a man started a TikTok trend fantasizing about how he would murder women on potential dates, and it quickly went viral. Why? Because men love to kill us, or at least force us to live in fear of them killing us.
We all know a victim, or someone who’s sister, mother, friend, or relative was a victim. Men, if you are shocked to learn that a quarter of us will face abuse in our lifetimes, it means you either aren’t listening to us or you aren’t safe enough for women to share their experiences with you.
Clearly, we need more than a month to celebrate women’s resilience and determination.
So, to the other women reading this: please, please keep fighting for us after today. Keep advocating for yourself, for women and girls in Afghanistan, and for mothers and daughters across the world. We owe it to each other and to ourselves.
When a man tries to make you feel small, remember that he and every other human being to ever walk this earth was brought here through the strength, love, and blood of a woman.
Other stories from volume 16, issue 3:
“Critical Race Theory” Sparks Discussion at Pitt
Meet the Pittsburgh Zoo’s Tiniest Primates
Campus Close-Up: How Was Your Spring Break?
Side-by-Side: Do You Like Shamrock Shakes?
From Playstation to Theaters: “Uncharted” Review
Stream Your Heart Out: “Fresh” Review
Read Your Heart Out: “The Midnight Library” Review
Play Your Heart Out: “Elden Ring” Review
Play Your Heart Out: Looney Pyramids Board Game