Celebrating Women’s History Month: HERstory, OURstory

Starting in 1987, the United States designated the month of March as Women’s History Month. Considering we just elected the first woman to ever serve in the executive branch of our government in our nearly 250-year history, we are overdue in elevating the stories of our nation’s female change makers.

During Women’s History Month, we salute, honor, and acknowledge the great women and girls who our nation remembers for their impact on subsequent generations. We recall their stories with gratitude and respect. Recounting and celebrating their accomplishments, we encourage our children to look to them as role models. We teach our girls and boys to dream innovatively and behave courageously.

HERstory

Who are these historical, innovative women and girls who’ve left a lasting impact on our culture and lives? 

Sacajawea, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, the women of “Hidden Figures” (Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden), Maya Angelou, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Gloria Steinem, and Kamala Harris are a few of the revered who we remember and recognize this month for their impact and ongoing influence.

These world changers began their lives as little girls and grew up to alter history.  

OURstory

In addition to these historic heroines, there are two groups of women who deserve our attention and accolades: a) our grandmothers, women who hold our personal past and  b) the ladies who directly and indirectly influence our children and shape who they become. By telling their stories, singing their songs, and living out their dreams we make sure their lives are remembered, too. 

One day, these women could have their names remembered by history, but if not they will be remembered by our children. Influential women may become immortalized in history books, but more often, they dramatically shape us through their personal impact. They become part of our story.

Connecting our children to the women of their past and the female leaders in their lives today helps root them to what they are capable of.  It encourages our children to write their personal story, to impact their world. 

“Grandmas Are Greater Than Great” is a sweet story by James Solheim that connects a child to women from her past.

Ideas for Celebrating Women with Children of All Ages

Preschool/Elementary

  1. Read a books about grandmothers
  2. Share a song with your children that their grandmother used to sing
  3. Ask your/a grandmother, mother, influential woman to tell or write down a story from their childhood
  4. Write a letter to a grandmother or aunt thanking them for their influence in your life.
  5. Make a family tree that lists great attributes of the women in child’s life
  6. Make a list with your children of all the influential women in your lives and one way they have helped you

Middle School

  1. Have your kids write their own Herstory, a story of the women who have shaped them
  2. Buy coffee or another favorite treat for the female teachers and/or role models in your kids’ lives and include a note of gratitude from your kids
  3. Recommend and share books from female authors about female heroines, find the similarities between your child and them

High School & Beyond

  1. Buy jewelry, masks, clothing from female owned shops
  2. Discover a hidden female figure in history, ex: Audrey Hepburn
  3. Donate to charities benefiting women or women’s education projects

It is unlikely that Probation Officer Mary Ryan and Social Worker Edith Kenyon, the women in my personal history, understood how their choices, parenting, and grand-parenting would leave a lasting impact on their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Their lives, though not recorded in history books, will leave an impact for generations.

For this Women’s History Month, I thank my grandmothers, teachers, and other female role models. I will tell my children your stories and sing them your songs.

Hannah Fox, a Michigan native, has lived in Kansas City for 12 years. She loves to connect and learn with others through Building Better Moms. When not connecting with other parents on Instagram or IRL, she can be found at La Bodega with her husband, a kid-friendly coffee shop with other Moms or watching Disney+ with her kids. Before becoming a SAHM, Hannah spent her time as a middle school science teacher focusing on education reform through curriculum writing and instructional coaching. After her first son was born, she made a difficult decision to stay at home full time. Hannah and her husband have 3 children ages 6 and under. Having a son with food allergies and a daughter with just one hand AKA “limb different,” Hannah is deeply committed to meeting and sharing experiences with parents and kids in the allergy and limb different communities.