March is Women’s History Month, dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the power of women to create positive change in the world. In 1987, when Women’s History Month was launched by Congress, women were just beginning to make inroads on many fronts from careers to education, from healthcare to legislation. Each year at AdventureWomen, we want to showcase the women who are literally changing lives, breaking barriers and helping to spearhead important initiatives around the world.
This year, the Womens’ History Project has chosen “nevertheless, she persisted” as the theme for March 2018. This theme honors those who have fought discrimination of all forms – whether that be based on race, ethnicity, class, disability or sexual orientation. They have selected fifteen 2018 honorees, women who are dismantling the structural, cultural, and legal foundations of discrimination and who are paving the way toward tolerance, respect and non-judgmental fair treatment for women, wherever they live and work.
Here are three of our favorites:
A leader in the global effort to end harassment and gender-based violence, Marty Langelan is called “the godmother of direct intervention.” She’s an economist, martial artist, past president of the DC Rape Crisis Center, and the author of Back Off: How to Confront and Stop Sexual Harassment. Langelan developed the Direct-Action Toolkit – more than 100 practical, principled ways to stop harassers in their tracks. She’s been derailing harassers for decades and her self-defense and anti-harassment programs are used worldwide. She’s taught hundreds of thousands of people how to interrupt sexist/racist behavior, reclaim jobs and neighborhoods from harassers, and shut down sexual predators. She teaches kids how to stop bullies, and communities how to intervene to stop white-supremacist bigots.
Margaret Dunkle played a key role in implementing Title IX, the law that transformed education for women and girls, from athletic fields to graduate schools. As the first Chair of the National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, her groundbreaking report in 1974 documenting discrimination against female athletes became the blueprint for the Title IX regulations on athletics. Since Title IX, Dunkle has continued to document discrimination against pregnant and parenting students, low income women losing health insurance for their children and fight for equal pay for African American teachers and other disenfranchised groups of women. As Director of the AAUW Educational Foundation, she commissioned the landmark 1992 study, How Schools Shortchange Girls. Margaret Dunkle’s honors include induction into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, and receiving the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Dale Richmond Award, Maryland’s William Donald Schaefer Helping People Award, First 5 Los Angeles’ Champion for Children Award, and Vice President Gore’s Hammer Award.
Cristina Jiménez is a leader in the youth-led immigrant rights movement and is Executive Director & cofounder of United We Dream, the largest youth-led immigration advocacy program in the U.S. She was instrumental in creating the DACA program in 2012 and through sharing her own story of being undocumented, Jiménez has inspired many others to come forward, and helped change the discourse on immigration. Under Jiménez’s leadership UWD has grown to a powerful network of 55 affiliates in 26 states with over 400,000 members. In October of 2017, Jiménez was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship “Genius Grant” recipient. She has also been named to many prestigious lists including one of Forbes’s 2014 “30 under 30 in Law and Policy;” and one of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “40 under 40 Young Leaders Who are Solving Problems of Today and Tomorrow”.
We salute these pioneering women who have left lasting legacies of positive change which we can all learn from. Thanks to them!