When Sam Hanek entered high school, she began learning about American history. During this she realized the struggles minorities went through, specifically women’s constant fight for equality. She knew from that moment on she couldn’t leave this world without trying to make a difference for all women and minorities out there.
Sam’s currently a freshman at Colorado State University working to spread awareness on women’s rights by having group discussions on campus and posting about it on social media.
“We have to acknowledge what women have been through in the past, and what problems women are still going through,” Hanek said.
Women’s History Month allows people to become more aware of these current issues. This celebration used to be just one day and then only a week, but now it is a full month. This progression also shows the progression and great strides women have made to be where we are today. Though we are still far from perfect, it’s important to look at the achievements women have made, and that’s what Women’s History Month is all about.
Since 1987, the United States has declared March Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate and acknowledge the great achievements women have made throughout history. This includes women’s success in all categories, whether it be in athletics, education, business, or art.
People can participate during this time in multiple ways: attending women’s marches, supporting woman-owned businesses or organizations, educating yourself on current problems, or simply watching movies or tv shows directed by women.
“Women’s History Month helps spread awareness, and I think right now we need to focus our awareness on sexual violence,” said Taylor Ocel, a Freshman at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Hanek said she believes that we shouldn’t only spread awareness during March.
“We should be looking at these issues and educating people all year long,” Hanek said.
Hanek said she hasn’t changed her actions in any way for this year’s Women’s History Month because she tries to promote women all year long.
She raises awareness by posting surveys and statistics on her social media, mainly on the problem of sexual assault. Sam receives her information from multiple websites such as the New York Times, Broadly, and Teen Vogue. Hanek said she also gets a lot of information from instagram and even her sociology professor at Colorado State University.
Women of all ages can participate in Women’s History Month and help to celebrate all of our great accomplishments. Even though there is a pandemic there are still so many ways you can participate! It is as simple as reading about women’s issues today, listening to female musicians, reading books by female authors or even documentaries out there on feminism.
Ocel works to spread awareness by posting on her Instagram story and tries having open discussions with her guy friends.
“These conversations tend to end by them saying I am being too aggressive or too difficult to converse with and that right there is the problem,” Ocel said.
Taylor’s currently taking an introduction to feminism class at school, and her professor Joselyn Franklin, has been teaching her about feminism throughout history. Ocel has become so passionate about women’s rights, specifically sexual violence, since she started taking this class.
“She’s really taught me to realize what we are celebrating during National Women’s Month and how much we still need to accomplish,” said Ocel, talking about her professor.
This need for change fits perfectly with Women’s History Month’s theme this year of “Choose to Challenge.” This theme acknowledges that women have made great advancements in women’s rights, but women still face many challenges, and people need to be educated in order for these problems to disappear.
Issues women face today have become a lot more subtle causing them to be easily overlooked, Sam said. This includes unequal pay, double standards, domestic violence, and sexual assault.
“The cause of these problems results from a lack of education, and we need to educate these men at a younger age to help improve the current situation,” Sam said.
Women’s History Month means more than simply attending events in March or celebrating famous women, it shows the need for education.
“Men need to be educated at a younger age to realize how bad sexual assault and domestic violence is and realize the physical and mental harm it does to these women,” Taylor said.
Change also starts at the local level whether it be supporting women run small businesses here in Fort Collins, educating your own friends and family, or even attending the women’s march in Denver that happens annually.
If everyone does this nationwide in honor of Women’s History Month real change can be seen, Hanek said.
Though this is important, people cannot forget the great female heroes throughout history. A few examples include Rosa Parks who sparked the Civil Rights Movement, Princess Diana and her great charity work, or Amelia Earhart who was the first women to fly solo across the Atlantic.
“Let’s make Women’s History Month simply a celebration of women’s great success,” Taylor said.