It’s Women’s History Month. Originally, I was going to brag about all the famous women and their contributions in Colorado that have brought us a remarkable women’s history. For instance, did you know that we were the first state in the country to grant women suffrage by popular vote? Or about our plethora of famous women leaders in Colorado like Molly Brown, Madeleine Albright, Ellis Meredith, Justina Ford, Hattie McDaniel, Temple Grandin, Helen G. Bonfils, Pat Schroeder, Frances Cabrini, Chipeta, Emily Griffith, Helen Ring Robinson, and Elizabeth Iliff Warren. And that long list contains only a few! We’ve got an incredible published history of remarkable leadership by women in our state.
But what about all those women over the hundreds of years who never made the history books or we may not even know? I think Women’s History Month is the perfect time to honor them. Some of those we may know or remember, and some we’ll never know their name. They are also threads in the fabric of our state and our local communities. These are the women who may not have had a title, initials after their name, or even a warm place to call home. But they still have had a huge influence on how Colorado children were raised, how crops fed us, what laws govern the land, or which political candidates got into office.
Some of those women who need to be honored are the:
• single mothers who fought against the odds just to get their kids fed and schooled,
• teachers who spent long hours for their students while tending to their own at night,
• grocery store and post office workers who went to work to support all of us no matter the weather,
• nurses, doctors, and chaplains who have served us so intimately, and the
• volunteers and nonprofit crews who have selflessly nourished and sustained our communities.
These are our unsung heroes who don’t usually get awards, fancy titles, or stories in the press. But they are possibly the most important members of our society as they are the bedrock of our neighborhoods.
But we also need to remember and lift up all those women in history who, because of their gender, have experienced pain and suffering at the hands of others. For just being a woman, too many have been either ignored or targeted. Too many have been harassed, assaulted, raped, beaten, and even murdered. And far too many of them have names or stories we will never know. They, too, have made contributions to our Colorado community and deserve our attention and appreciation as well.
In history and today, we’ve got a lot of women to be proud of in our Centennial State who have been very public leaders, unknown followers, and contributors in between. If you know one of them, thank them. If you are one of them, I hope you give yourself a big pat on the back and some self-care. Happy Women’s History Month!
Former Colorado State Sen. Linda Newell is a writer, instructor, facilitator, and conflict coach. Senlindanewell@gmail.com, www.lindanewell.org, www.senlindanewell.com, @sennewell on Twitter, Senator Linda Newell on Facebook.