Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Celebrating Women’s History Month

On February 28, 1909, America’s first National Women’s Day was celebrated to honor all the hardworking and accomplished women of our country. This day was elevated even higher to Women’s International Day on March 8, 1911 when women around the world were celebrated and acknowledged. The evolution of this day continued and eventually turned into a Women’s History Week in 1978. However, this was still not the end of the development for the celebration of women’s accomplishments. In 1987, Congress passed a proclamation establishing March as Women’s History Month, which honors remarkable achievements of women.

That brings us to today. This month, we keep the tradition alive and celebrate all women around the world. As we know, there are an extensive number of women each year we can honor for Women’s History Month who have inspired and impacted our society today. Below are just a few of those great women who have come from our own Philadelphia area and changed the course of history forever.

Alice Paul: Born in 1885 in New Jersey, Alice was a descendant of William Penn. She attended Swarthmore College which was co-founded by her grandfather. She went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania and then furthered her education at a Quaker School in England. After returning from England, she lived in Philadelphia where she became extremely involved in the Women’s Suffrage Movement. She was an advocate for passing the 19th Amendment for the right of women to vote and in 1923, she wrote the Equal Rights Amendment, which, unfortunately, has not been enacted. Alice spent her life fighting for women’s protection against discrimination and other women’s rights.

Rebecca Cole: Born in 1846, in Philadelphia, Rebecca was the second female African-American doctor in the United States. She provided services for the poor, especially women and children, in their homes and also opened a Women’s Directory Center in 1873. She was committed to teaching and influencing others about her findings, which inspired others to follow her path. Rebecca did not allow sexism and/or racism to stop her from doing her job. She broke down walls and barriers to do what she loved.

Denise Scott Brown: Born in 1931, Denise is recognized as the most impactful architect of the 20th century as well as her husband, Robert Venturi. Denise attended the University of Pennsylvania where she obtained her Master's Degree in city planning and then became a professor; she then obtained another Master’s Degree in architecture. She continued with her teaching at many colleges, but then came back to Philadelphia and joined forces with her husband where they worked side-by-side making a difference throughout the City.

Louisa May Alcott:
Born in 1832, in Germantown, Pennsylvania, Louisa is most known as the author of Little Women, but was a very successful novelist of the 19th and 20th century. Several of her publications supported women’s rights and Louisa was the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Connecticut. Still today, her books appear on the bestseller list.

Patti LaBelle or better known as the “Godmother of South”: Born in 1944 in Philadelphia, Patti has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Hall of Fame, the Apollo Theater Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. Not only is she a singer, but she is also a songwriter, actress, and businesswoman. During her impressive 50+ year career, she's racked up awards and sold more than 50 million records worldwide. Patti paved the way for a lot of women interested in pursuing music.

Jill Scott or better known as “Jilly from Philly”: Born in 1972 in Philadelphia, Jill has spent a majority of her life calling this City her home. She is a songwriter, singer, and model. When Jill was a college student at Temple University, she wanted to be an English high school teacher. Unfortunately, professors did not agree with her philosophy of helping students learn with singing. These negative thoughts only inspired Jill to do more with her music and create a difference through song. Jill is against the degradation of women in pop music and she uses her music as an expression of emotions.