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Women's History Month

Stories Don't Stop

March is almost over, and we all know what that means. 

We’re done. Finished. 

We came, we saw, we hashtagged WomensHistoryMonth and now we can retreat to our feminist lairs, cackling and dreaming of government-subsidized maternity leave and free tampons.

Historical Silence Breakers

Here are just a few of the Jewish women throughout history who spoke out, breaking long-held silences about social issues and women’s disenfranchisement. Their stories remind us that change happens when women use their voices, loudly and together.

Amy Swerdlow

An active member of Women Strike for Peace and founder of Women’s History Month, Amy Swerdlow created opportunities for ordinary women to become agents of change.

Vashti, Purim, and Women's History Month

I have a vague recollection of the first time I learned about Vashti. I was sitting at circle time on a primary-colored rug in my pre-K class at Sunday school and was told, “Vashti was not nice to the King. She would not dance for the King.” And we all just nodded our heads in sympathy for King Ahashuarus. “Poor King.” We all thought, “Vashti is evil.”

Making Women's History

I’m a scholar of women’s history, so you’d think March—the official Women’s History Month—would be the highlight of my year. You’d be wrong. As I (and many others) have written about before, it’s insufficient to devote one month a year to the story of more than half the population, and problematic to ghettoize women’s history as if it isn’t integral to our understanding of all history.

But you’d also be right. Because a governmentally proclaimed Women’s History Month presents the opportunity—one that I gleefully embrace—to engage people in the work of making women’s history. By “work” I don’t just mean study. Sure, it’s great for teachers to use March as a time to focus on women’s stories in their classrooms. But women’s history also suggests a model for radically shifting our understanding of history from an academic subject to a worldview, and even a social justice imperative.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women's History Month." (Viewed on November 15, 2018) <https://jwa.org/tags/womens-history-month>.

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