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Women’s History Month: America’s Trailblazers for Equality

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Since 1987, March has been recognized as National Women’s History Month in the United States.

It is a time for Americans to look back on the impressive history of women and their contributions to industry, education, sports, science, medicine, art and more. It is also a time to reflect on the challenges women have overcome to advance the equality of women and blaze the trails for future generations.

One highly influential figure in American history is Susan B. Anthony. She contributed significantly to the advancement of women’s rights and the abolition of slavery in the United States. As early as age 17, she collected anti-slavery petitions in her home state of Massachusetts.

Anthony was committed to social equality and worked with other women like Lucy Stone and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to found organizations including the American Equal Rights Association and the National Woman Suffrage Association. She also worked internationally and helped found the International Council of Women, an organization still active today, which advocates for human rights and women’s rights across the globe.

Another inspiring example of the tenacity and fervor of women is the world-renowned tennis champion and women’s rights activist Billie Jean King.

King won acclaim after earning the women’s doubles title on her first attempt at Wimbledon in 1962. When she wasn’t on the court, King fought for equal prize money for men and women and, in 1971, became the first female athlete to win more than $100,000.

In 1972, King spoke on Capitol Hill in support of equality for women in school sports; that year the Title XI Education Amendment was passed, which prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding.

She retired from professional tennis in 1984 with 39 grand slam career titles. King has always striven to make sports accessible and fair for women. She remains active as a commentator and advocate for women in sports.

Women’s History Month is a time when we look back and appreciate the passion and dedication of these women, as well as countless others, who have helped propel society toward equality. We should draw inspiration from these pioneers who came before us. We must use it to work toward a fairer and more inclusive future.

Anthony once said, “The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in the councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race.”