"Women's Art: Women's Vision" -- celebrating women

2008 Women's History Month Logo

2008 Women's History Month Logo

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

Ratified in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was the core focus of the women's rights movement in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

According to the National Women's History Project, as recently as the 1970s, women's history was a fairly unknown topic in the kindergarten through high school curriculum.

In 1979, the NWHP, along with Sarah Lawrence College members, worked to secure a Congressional Resolution to declare a National Women's History Week. In 1981, they succeeded when Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Rep. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland co-sponsored the joint Congressional Resolution.

The NWHP took it a step further in 1987 when they petitioned Congress to expand the national celebration to the entire month of March.

"Women play an important role in transforming culture and history," said Master Sgt. Patricia Gordon, Women's History Month Committee co-chairperson. "During Women's History Month, we have an opportunity to promote women's accomplishments."

This year the NWHP has chosen "Women's Art: Women's Vision" as the theme for National Women's History Month to "honor the originality, beauty, imagination and multiple dimensions of women's lives."

History of Women's Suffrage
In 1848, the first Women's Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls, N.Y., kick started the women's suffrage movement.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, who had met at the World Anti-Slavery Convention in 1840 in London, decided to hold this convention because of the poor treatment they received at the London convention. The convention in Seneca Falls allowed for the topics of social, civil and religious rights of women to be discussed openly by all.

During the Civil War, historians say women's suffrage was pushed aside due to the abolition movement. Because of this, Ms. Stanton established the American Equal Rights Association in 1866.

As the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments were ratified, the association split into two factions. Ms. Stanton and Susan B. Anthony established the National Woman Suffrage Association in New York, while Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe and Henry Blackwell established the American Woman Suffrage Association in Boston. These two factions merged in 1890 to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association under the leadership of Ms. Stanton.

In 1878, a Woman's Suffrage Amendment was introduced to Congress. The women's suffrage movement gained momentum with the formation of various suffrage groups, but by 1918, United States involvement in World War I had slowed down the suffrage movement. After years of picketing and protesting, both houses of Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment and under the presidency of Woodrow Wilson the amendment was ratified in 1920.

Women's History Month at Offutt
The WHM Committee here has several events planned for the month of March. The goal of the committee is to increase awareness of women's accomplishments in both the military and civilian community, Sergeant Gordon said.

"The spirit, courage and contribution of women have enriched America with diversity," the sergeant added.

For more information about Women's History Month, check out the Air Pulse or call Master Sgt. Kris Laeding at 294-2933.