Celebrate Women's History Month
Posted by Jennifer Haberman in Blog / Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on February 28, 2023
March is Women’s History Month. This month, and every month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound honors and recognizes the significant contributions women have made to our organization and our community.
Women’s History Month had its beginnings in 1982, after the National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to get the President to proclaim the week of March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week”. Five years later, in 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as “Women’s History Month”.
Throughout history, women have made incredible contributions in all areas of society. From art to medicine, politics, sports, and science, women have made discoveries, broken barriers, and left their mark. Women’s contributions in many areas have not always been seen or recognized. Sometimes, they have even been purposely obscured or erased. Celebrating Women’s History Month is important because it provides a vehicle for that recognition and for building awareness. As part of our ongoing series about the way people right here in our region have made history, this month we are featuring several women who have positively impacted our community.
Bertha Ethel Knight Landes served as the first female mayor of Seattle from 1926 to 1928 and was the first female mayor of a major American city. Landes and a local businesswoman named Kathryn Miracle had been the first women elected to the Seattle City Council in 1922. A leader of many local women’s organizations, Landes lobbied hard for women’s right to participate in all areas of government and civic life. She is most known for her ethical, common-sense, and expertise-oriented approach to governing, which she referred to as “political housekeeping”. Gwen Whiting, curator at the Washington State Historical Society, said “More than anything, she [Landes] simply inspired women to understand that seeking those higher office positions was possible.”
Ramona Bennett, elected as Chairwoman of the Puyallup Tribe in 1971, is a local leader and political activist who made huge strides in the issues of social welfare for Indians and women’s equality. According to the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project, Bennett was “A pioneering activist on behalf of Indian fishing rights, she co-founded the Survival of American Indians Association in 1964, an organization that helped bring local “fish-ins” to national prominence.” Her model for child and family service became the basis of the federal Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 – she was also a co-author of the Act. Ramona has been a driving force for good throughout her life, and has been honored by organizations such as the Native Action Network and the American Native Women’s Leadership Development Forum.
Kaye Hall, local swimming legend and Olympic gold medalist, attended Tacoma’s own Wilson High School. Hall was highly accomplished in her events – the 50 & 100m backstroke. She inspired hundreds in the city of Tacoma to line the Titlow Park lawns to cheer her on as she practiced at the old 50m pool there. Hall won multiple medals and set world and Olympic records at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City in 1968. She went on to become a teacher right here in Washington State.
Bertha Pitts Campbell was an early Seattle civil rights worker & activist. Pitts Campbell attended Howard University, a famous and highly regarded HBCU, where she and 21 other women founded Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She and her 21 co-founders publicly tackled racism in the women’s movement in many ways, perhaps most famously by marching in their caps and gowns in the 1913 Women’s Suffrage March (Parade) in Washington DC. Pitts Campbell was also an early board member of the Seattle Urban League, and a founder of Christian Friends for Racial Equality. These two organizations actively fought racism in Seattle in areas from healthcare to housing. The Washington State House of Representatives honored Campbell for her life and work on May 11, 1987, and Seattle proclaimed June 13, 1987, as Bertha Pitts Campbell Day.
These are just 4 of the millions, no, billions of women who have made history in ways big and small. Each and every one of them is or was a regular woman whose decisions left a mark on the world. To anyone reading this, an important reminder for Women’s History Month: whether women choose to be athletes, leaders, friends, scientists, colleagues, mothers, politicians, sisters, aunts, or anything else….their choice is valid and they can change the world.
Our organization is grateful for all the women in our community, every Big, Little, mother, parent, guardian, donor, social worker, teacher, and staff member. To all the women reading this – thanks for all you do for our community!
Please join us in celebrating Women’s History Month at these FREE events throughout the Puget Sound this month:
- Women’s History Month Scavenger Hunt, Tacoma Public Libraries, March 1-31
- Learn interesting facts and win prizes throughout the month!
- Women Who Empower, Northeastern University Seattle, March 22, 4:30PM
- An evening panel featuring women who lead in innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship. The panel of three will discuss ” How Community Builds Lifelong Success for Women”. The panelists will share the importance of building networks, fostering bonds within the community, and investing in new friendships.
- International Women’s Day: Stories of Redefining Motherhood, Mar 8, 5PM
- Join The Moth and the Gates Foundation Discovery Center on International Women’s Day for an unforgettable evening of powerful personal stories highlighting diverse experiences and perspectives on motherhood and the power of speaking up and speaking out.
- International Women’s Day : Celebrating our Strength, March 8, 4PM, Highline Heritage Museum
- Come celebrate the strength and joy of refugee and immigrant women on International Women’s Day at Highline Heritage Museum.
- Ladies Musical Club Concert, Mar 8, 12PM, Seattle Public Library Central Library
- Attend a Ladies Musical Club concert featuring cello music accompanied by piano.
- International Women’s Day Celebration: An Evening to Seed the Change with Landesa, Mar 15, 6PM, Town Hall Seattle
- Join Landesa for an unforgettable evening as they honor International Women’s Day and raise awareness about the powerful impact of land rights at Landesa’s signature event, Seed the Change! Enjoy a selection of globally inspired drinks and small bites while chatting directly with program staff and engaging in activities that shed light on the most important global development issues of our time.
We encourage you to attend these events on your own or with your Little if you’re a Big. Please share the events with friends and family as well. Happy Women’s History Month!