‘Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope’: Students share thoughts on Women’s History Month


Photo credit: Sabrina Kim

Archer students and faculty pose, making X’s with their arms for International Women’s Day theme: “Break the Bias.” The day took place Monday, March 8, in the first full week of Women’s History Month.

By Thea Leimone, Features Editor

What started out as a week to celebrate women and their accomplishments was extended to an entire month in 1981; the first official Women’s History Month was set for March and has continued annually ever since. This year’s theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” which recognizes the role of women as caregivers and frontline workers throughout history. Students and faculty shared their thoughts and feelings surrounding the month and this year’s theme.

“Women’s History Month is important to me because it’s just a month where I can reflect on who I am in my own identity and share that with people who are also women and that have that [identity] in common with,” executive board member for the Girls Empowering Girls club Sydney Frank (’23) said.

In a recent Community Connections presentation, Dean of Student Life, Equity and Inclusion Samantha Hazell-O’Brien shared a slideshow on how the celebration came to be and what the goal of this year’s month is. Speaking on the theme, history teacher Kathleen Niles said she hopes that it will allow the world to see how valuable caring leaders are, and that women and men can both lead with empathy.

“I hope the theme can help us broaden our understanding of what leading a community or leading a country looks like,” Niles said. “And to see what women do, as a specific type of leadership, men can do [caring leadership] too — but it’s been traditionally a feminized set of skills.”

Sophomore Eleanor Madley said she felt the theme allows communities to both recognize women-leaders of all kinds throughout history, as well as to hear the stories of women that often go without recognition.

“I think it’s going to be great because it’s a time where we can recognize all the really important female leaders who are really crucial to where we are today,” Madley said. “It gives us a chance to hear the stories of people that would go overlooked and we want to hear about, which I think is really cool.”

Niles, however, said she does not think that celebrating women and their history should be congregated to just one month. Rather than holding a specific lesson or celebration for this month in her U.S. History class, she will be incorporating the history of all women and their accomplishments throughout the entirety of the year.

“I would say I’m not planning to do anything specific for Women’s History Month. I’m planning for that to be reflected throughout the curriculum,” Niles said.

Archer’s mission statement is to “empower young women to discover their passions and realize their true potential.” In a school that promotes female empowerment and a mission of feminism, Niles said that students still have more to learn about the history of women and the feminist movement.

“I think students here believe that they are in an environment steeped in feminist goals and understanding of feminist history,” Niles said. “At the same time, I think anytime that we embark upon that study, students still find that there’s still new stuff to learn.”

To commemorate this month, Madley plans on reaching out to older women in her life to learn more about their stories and to celebrate their lives.

“I’m reaching out to all of my family members who are a little bit older and I want to hear their stories. I do this every year, but it’s a really good time to hear their stories and celebrate them,” Madley said. “I wouldn’t be here without them.”

To celebrate, check out this list of virtual events that are hosted in honor of Women’s History Month.