Women's History Month
March 23, 2022
Celebrating Women's History Month
Women's History Month celebrates the contributions women have made to the United States, and recognizes the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields. Learn more about Women's History Month on https://womenshistorymonth.gov
In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re highlighting a few incredible women throughout history. Scroll down to learn more about each, and see below for resources to learn more. Additional highlights will be added throughout the month of March!
(photo credit: PBS)
Gladys West grew up in rural Virginia and spent much of her time helping to harvest crops on the family farm. She graduated high school as valedictorian and received a full scholarship to Virginia State College where she earned a mathematics degree in 1952. She returned for her master’s degree, and was hired as a mathematician by the US Naval Proving Ground. She went on to earn a second master’s degree in 1973 in public administration, and received a Ph.D. in public administration and policy affairs at age 70. West is often called one of history’s “hidden figures,” individuals whose contributions to science went unrecognized in their time because of their race or gender. She was formally recognized in 2018 for her contribution to the development of GPS and was later inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame. (Britannica)
(photo credit: Discovery Cathay Pacific)
Isabella Bird was one of the first women to make a living as a travel writer and photographer, writing The Englishwoman in America and a Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains. Bird explored Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park, and is famous for her poetic description of her 1873 ascent of Longs Peak, the highest mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. Isabella Bird was also the first woman ever to be inducted into the Royal Geographic Society. (REI’s Female Pioneers Who Paved the Way for Women in the Outdoors)
(photo credit: Getty Images)
Mary Seacole, nicknamed “Mother Seacole,” traveled through the Bahamas, Haiti, England and Cuba, and is most famous for her travels and work in Panama and Crimea. After England’s War Office refused to fund a trip to Crimea, Seacole raised her own money, traveled there, and founded the British Hotel. The British Hotel provided housing for sick and wounded officers. She learned about local herbs and plants, using them for medicine throughout her travels, and published one of the first travel memoirs ever published by a black woman, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands. (REI’s Female Pioneers Who Paved the Way for Women in the Outdoors)
(photo credit: Colorado Virtual Library)
"Dr. Susan Anderson, ‘Doc Susie’ was a physician and one of the first women to practice medicine in Colorado. In 1907, Doc Susie contracted tuberculosis. She was advised to relocate to the mountains for the dry mountain air. She moved to Fraser, Colorado. For almost 50 years, she was the only doctor in Grand County and often snowshoed miles to make house calls. Patients would often pay her in goods and services. One example is the log building that became Doc Susie’s home. A rancher gave it to Doc Susie as payment. Several of the townsfolk helped her move the log building to its new location. Doc Susie was the subject of a Pic article in the 1950s that garnered national attention. Ethel Barrymore even offered to make a movie about Doc Susie, however, Doc Susie refused. Doc Susie passed in 1960 in Denver. Her log cabin still stands in Fraser. It is used as a private residence and remains a testament to this brave woman’s dedication to the citizens of a small mountain community." (National Trust for Historic Preservation)
(photo credit: Sierra Club)
Betty Reid Soskin
Betty Reid Soskin, civil rights activist, was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1921. Now a National Park Ranger, Soskin shares her first-hand stories of the women who worked in wartime industry and experiences with racial segregation and discrimination. In 2004, a few years after attending a presentation about the development of Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historic Park, Soskin officially joined the National Park Service as a ranger. She quickly well-known within and outside of the park and in 2015, she was awarded a presidential commemorative coin. Betty Reid Soskin has been named “Woman of the Year” by California State Legislature, was named one of the nation’s ten outstanding women by the National Women’s History Project and has been featured in countless interviews. (National Park Service article by Faith Bennett & NPS Betty Reid Soskin webpage)
(photo credit: New Mexico PBS)
La Donna Harris
La Donna Harris, Comanche social activist and politician, is best known for her influence on civil rights, women’s rights, environmental protection and world peace efforts. In 1970, Harris founded the Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) whose mission is to “advance, from an Indigenous world view the cultural, political and economic rights of Indigenous peoples in the United States and around the world.” In her role as president of AIO, Harris has advised the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the US Office of Economic Opportunity. She became one of the first inductees in the National Native American Hall of Fame in 2018. (Oklahoma Historical Society & Vision Maker Media)
(photo credit: Northwestern University)
Margaret "Peggy" Fuller Boos
"Margaret was the first female ranger-naturalist at Rocky Mountain National Park (1928-29). She held a Ph.D in Geology and created a geology guide for RMNP. She helped establish the Geology Department at the University of Denver and created an endowment that continues to provide tuition scholarship funds for women graduate students." (Visit Estes Park)
Resources & Ways to Celebrate
Explore Where Women Made History
The National Trust for Historic Preservation's "Explore Where Women Made History" database makes it easy to discover 1,000+ places where American women have left their mark on American History. This powerful resource "uncovers and uplifts women across the centuries whose vision, passion, and determination have shaped the country we are today." (National Trust for Historic Preservation)
Visit the Estes Park Women's Monument
Take a walk along the Riverside Walk in Estes Park and read about 12 women, both past and present, who impacted the growth of the Estes Valley. The collection of 12 bronze sculptures is one of the first of its kind in the nation and was created by artist Jane DeDecker. Women highlighted include Margaret Fuller Boos, Josephine (Josie) Hupp, Alberta Sprague, Flora Stanley, Jessica Chapin Macdonald, Olga Ortega, Jean Weaver, Wendy Koenig, Isabella Bird, Neinoo Biiti'Owu', Edna Mills, and Eleanor E. Hondius.
Explore the National Women's History Museum
The National Women's History Museum is hosting a variety of special events to celebrate Women's History Month. Explore the website to learn more about the month, view online exhibits, read articles, and so much more.
Join Vision Maker Media's Celebration of Native Women
Vision Maker Media is hosting a month-long worldwide online streaming event in celebration of Women's History Month. "CommUNITY: Herald Native Women" features a curation of online films all produced and/or directed by Native women.