The Holidays are upon us! Before we get too distracted trying to find the perfect gifts for our family and friends, we should take time to remember and appreciate highlights of women’s history and powerful and influential women, who took strides to eradicate injustices and advance gender equity in the month of December.
5 Incredible Women’s History Moments During the Month of December:
Wyoming became the first territory to grant women the right to vote on December 10, 1869. While a victory for gender equality, Wyoming legislators were primarily motivated by the publicity brought by women’s suffrage; at the time, Wyomian men outnumbered women by 6:1.
On December 26, 1898, Marie Curie (and her husband Pierre,) announced to the French Academy of Sciences that she had isolated radium. Marie Curie went on to receive two Nobel Prizes.
On December 2, 1916, a group of suffragists met on Staten Island to engage in a publicity stunt; Leda Richberg-Hornsby and Ida Blair attempted to fly a biplane over President Woodrow Wilson’s yacht, and drop hundreds of pro-suffrage pamphlets on his deck. Though poor weather led to the failure of their mission, Hornsby commented she was proud to fly for “[the] war for women’s rights.
On December 7, 1941, Captain Annie Fox, head nurse of the Station hospital at Pearl Harbor, displayed notable courage and bravery as she tended to victims during the intense military bombing. For her actions on this day, Fox became the first women to receive a Purple Heart for her military service.
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white passenger on December 1st, 1955; her actions would ignite the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights movement.
5 Monumental Women Born in the Month of December:
Jane Austen, the English author of popular novels such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility, was born on December 16th, 1775. Her novels often conveyed a feminist narrative and critique of British gentry.
Noted feminist, abolitionist, and signatory of the Declaration of Sentiments Martha Wright, was born on December 25 1806. Wright was a close friend of Harriet Tubman and harbored fugitive slaves in the Underground Railroad. Wright called the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls in 1848.
Clara Barton, the founder of Red Cross, was born on December 25th, 1821. Her humanitarian efforts have generated disaster relief, emergency assistance, and higher quality education in the United States.
Margaret Chase Smith, born on December 14th, 1897, not only served in both houses of Congress but was also monumental in her efforts to challenge McCarthyism, which made unfair allegations against many groups including the LGBTQ community.
Patsy Mink, born on December 6th, 1927, was the first Japanese-American Congresswoman. Mink was influential in the creation of Title IX, which helped advance gender equality in education and prohibited gender discrimination in educational environments. .
Brenna Resnick and Sarvenaz Farzad, Women’s Museum of California Interns