March is National Women’s History Month in the United States. It is a time to recognize, honor and celebrate the important part that women play in shaping America’s history. It is also a time to call attention to the social, political and economic problems facing women and girls. Faith Lapidus has our story.
Earlier this month, the White House Council on Women and Girls released a historic report on the condition of women in America. It is the first time since nineteen sixty-three that the government has released such a detailed report on the subject.
The report is called “Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being.”
The report says women have made major progress is several important areas. But, it says, there is still much work to be done.
Women today are more educated, have better jobs and earn better pay than at any other time in history. There are also more women than men graduating from high school, enrolling in college and attending graduate school. In fact, women are expected to represent nearly sixty percent of all college undergraduate enrollment by the year twenty nineteen.
All of these advances represent major progress for women. However, the White House report also noted some serious problems.
For example, female workers continue to be paid less than male workers. The report said that in two thousand nine women at all educational levels earned about seventy percent of what men earned. Women were also more likely than men to live in poverty. This was especially true for unmarried women with children. Twenty-eight percent of this group had income levels that were below the poverty line.
President Obama noted such inequities in his Presidential Proclamation for Women’s History Month. Mr. Obama said countries are more peaceful and successful when their female citizens enjoy equal rights, equal voices and equal chances for success.
He also said the United States must lead by example in protecting women’s rights and supporting their empowerment. Women are fifty-one percent of the total population in America.
National Women’s History Month grew out of National Woman’s Day which was first celebrated in the United States in nineteen hundred and nine. The observance was celebrated worldwide as International Women’s Day in nineteen eleven. Congress expanded it into a month-long celebration in the United States in nineteen eighty-seven.
This year’s National Women’s History Month celebration is called “Our History is Our Strength.” Programs and ceremonies are planned around the country to celebrate women’s successes.