As we approach the mid-point of Women’s History Month 2023, LOF would like to celebrate the innumerable women-identifying writers, artists, activists and others who are telling our stories while making history. Stories can be shared in a variety of ways, through narrative, art or music, as well as through the many important organizations that help to support women and girls to be successful in life.
Below we share a few ideas for supporting Women’s History Month this year.
One of my favorite storytellers of often unheralded women is author Marie Benedict. A former lawyer, who according to her website, “found her calling unearthing the hidden historical stories of women.” The Only Woman in the Room, one of my favorites, tells the fascinating story of mid-20th century screen star Hedy Lamarr whose daring escape from Nazi Germany and scientific discoveries are at least as riveting as any of her classic and beloved films.
While Benedict shares the stories of other women, memoirs truly help us understand personal journies. Like Silvia Vasquez-Lavado’s book In the Shadow of the Mountain: A Memoir of Courage. Published in early 2022, Vazquez-Lavado’s memoir shares her triumph over childhood abuse in her native Peru, alcoholism, and hidden sexual identity while navigating the macho tech world. She finds new strength and healing by navigating the seven summits and finds community by helping other women overcome their traumas to find acceptance and peace.
Hearing stories through music can be a very powerful experience. If my life had a soundtrack it would be a mix of genres, featuring artists like the Indigo Girls, Beyonce and countless country musicians. Country music has its roots in storytelling, and Kacey Musgraves’ 2021 album Star-Crossed chronicles the end of her marriage and her journey to find peace. She shared in an NPR interview how important it was for her to, be “able to convey the wide range of emotions that I have felt over my healing journey.”
Sometimes stories simply don’t need words to convey deep meaning. Earlier this week I was exposed to the remarkable compositions of Carol Brittin Chambers at a spring music festival featuring the local high school and middle school bands. Perhaps it was to honor Women’s History Month, or perhaps it was just a coincidence, but among the eight songs performed, two were composed by Brittin Chambers.
The words on Brittin Chamber website Aspenwood Music reflect how her music is meant to be experienced by others: “Sometimes a change of scene or a new encounter is all it takes to calm the spirit, open the heart, inspire the mind…” And when I heard the song Kalos Eidos, it was a balm to my soul in the middle of an otherwise very challenging week.
Storytelling comes in many forms, and galleries and museums around the country are featuring important works and discoveries by women. If you happen to be in the Boston area March 18-19, consider visiting the Museum of Science for its celebration of “women’s contributions to science, culture, and society with a special weekend event that includes featured speakers, live presentations, activities, and more!”
Boston also features a Boston Women’s Heritage Trail, featuring the former homes of Louisa May Alcott and Sylvia Plath, as well as many other female history makers who called Boston home. This is an experience you can have any time of the year. If you’re near update New York, a visit to Gallery @ Create features women artists across genres sharing their stories.
Engage & Support
For women to have meaningful stories to share, it helps to have someone, or entire organizations, in your corner. National organizations dedicated to empowering girls like the Girl Scouts, or ‘eliminating racism and empowering women’ like the YWCA play vital roles across the country. And complementing this important work are nonprofits like Chicago-based Women Employed an organization that works to drive economic equality for women.
There are many ways to engage with meaningful stories of women in March, we hope we’ve shared enough ideas to continue learning about women’s history all year.
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