By Aaliyahrose Owens
There has been a long history of women defying social norms and establishing new precedents, yet their achievements are rarely celebrated or even acknowledged. This March, in honor of Women's History Month, we should look back at the incredible women who have shaped history and how we view women today.
Despite facing bias and sexism, women have made incredible contributions to society in every field. Some examples of lesser-known women who have forever altered the public's view of women are listed below.
In the early 19th century, Ching Shih, a Chinese pirate queen, terrorized the seas with a fleet of hundreds of ships and thousands of men. Through her achievements, Ching Shih shattered the stereotype that women could not achieve the same levels of success as men in traditionally male-dominated fields.
Ada Lovelace is widely regarded as the first computer programmer due to her collaboration with Charles Babbage on designing a primitive mechanical computer in the 19th century. Lovelace's writings helped pave the way for the modern computing industry while also challenging the stereotype that women are unable to grasp abstract mathematical concepts.
Claudette Colvin, then 15 years old, took a stand on a Montgomery bus nine months before Rosa Parks did the same. Her defiance sparked the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement and shattered the stereotype that women, particularly black women, were weak and submissive.
Forerunner in the field of astronomy, Annie Jump Cannon, created a system for labeling stars that is still in use today. Also, she helped found the Harvard Computers, a group of women who made significant strides in astronomy, and she discovered over 300 variable stars on her own. Cannon's contributions helped break down barriers for other women who wanted to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
In 1879, Mary Eliza Mahoney broke down barriers in the medical field for people of color and women by becoming the first African American registered nurse in the United States. She later helped found the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses to lobby for improved conditions in the nursing profession. The groundwork for more diversity in the healthcare field was laid by Mahoney's work, which shattered the stereotype that women, especially women of color, were not capable of being competent professionals.
The way society views women largely shifted because of these women and others like them. They have shattered glass ceilings, changed attitudes, and paved the way for other women to follow in their footsteps. Let us take heart from these intrepid ladies and their legacy as we fight for justice and equality in the world today.
As we reflect on the accomplishments of these incredible women during Women's History Month, it is important to recognize that their contributions have had a lasting impact on society. These women have broken down barriers and challenged stereotypes, paving the way for future generations of women to pursue their dreams and achieve their full potential. Let us celebrate and honor the legacy of these trailblazers and continue to work towards a world where all women are recognized, valued, and given the opportunities they deserve.