Women's History Month

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jessica Tabor
  • 28th Bomb Wing Equal Opportunity
The Department of Defense recognizes March as Women's History Month. This year's theme focuses on Women's Education - Women's Empowerment. Education for women has not always been the norm in society.

Education for women was common in the 1700s; women learned how to do household chores and were taught the alphabet and numbers. As American society progressed so did the education for women. Through education, women have become more intelligent, have contributed more to society, and have educated others. By the mid 1750s, 65 percent of women could read and write. In 2003, the percentage was 99.

Founded in 1833, Oberlin College in Ohio became the first school to accept both women and black students. Three American women became the first to earn bachelor's degrees in 1841 from Oberlin.

By 1910, women made up 39 percent of undergraduate students. Today, women make up 56 percent of undergraduates and 51 percent of doctoral students in the United States.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, which prohibits discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employees. Despite this bold advancement women continue to struggle with equality. In 2010, women's earnings were 77.4 percent of men's.

Every year the World Economic Forum publishes a Global Gender Gap report that captures gender-based disparities in countries across the world. In 2009, the United States ranked 31. Two years later in 2011, the United States ranked 17.

Women have made large strides of the last century and even more in recent decades. As women continue to become more educated, the gender disparities will likely continue to decrease.

To promote the self-actualization or influence of is the definition of empowerment. Education is the pinnacle at women's empowerment. As women became more educated, the stereotypes, prejudices, and gender roles have begun to change.

Women now serve in roles that were merely dreams for previous generations. In the past 30 years, women have served during war, ran for president, and achieved the rank of general in the military. These accomplishments made in a short time have paved the way for many more first for women in this country.