As a female filmmaker, I am always excited when young women are interested in documentary films. I once had a young girl tell me about her new favorite documentary: “The Men Who Built America.”
I asked her, “What about the women?”
She replied, “Well, this was all before the Rosie the Riveter stuff, so there weren’t any women.”
My heart broke a little. I thought, we have failed the children! Surely she knows women existed. She must think, then, that their contributions don’t matter.
In reality, we haven’t failed the children. History has failed us. How much do any of us know about our history? Women have been erased from the landscape of contribution. The history of women we do know has been sought out and fought for, not offered as fundamental knowledge. Our history is an elective or an afterthought: a thing to be chosen, rather than required.
It is an act of subversion to say that women have been participants, leaders, makers and creators since the beginning of time, but it is truth. We exist, we have a history and that history has value.
If we only learn the history of dominant culture, we are missing out on the majority of historical knowledge. It’s time to catch up and prioritize all the intersections of history: women's history, queer history, black history, indigenous history, history of people disabilities… The list is long and we are behind. Let’s focus all year long on learning the important stories that can shape a better future.
During the month of March, the history of women is prioritized and celebrated. We need and deserve this month, but our stories shouldn’t be limited to such a short span of time. We have a lot of discovery and catching up to do!
Why is it important to share women’s history all year long?
1. History is interesting!
Women have been doing amazing things for a long time. It’s fun and inspiring to learn about their stories.
2. History gives power.
Legacy matters. Our history helps us learn who we are, it shapes identity, and gives power to aspirations. It challenges myths about what women can and can’t do and provides a script that show what women always have been doing.
3. History guides change.
History connects the vestiges of the past to our present condition. Our historical context sets the standard for how we approach existing problems.
4. History is fundamental.
It’s a basic, folks. History informs so much of our lives, from politics to current events to simple day-to-day interactions.
Who are your favorite women in history? Whose story and legacy inspires you? Share with us in the comments! Share on social media and #LoveHerLegacy
At Vox Siren we believe that all people benefit from the stories, skills and safety of women. Here are a few incredible women we highlighted during our Women’s History Month partnership with Portland's Xray Fm, and a few videos from our series on the The Black United Fund Mural in NE Portland.
Stories from the Black United Fund Mural
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#LoveHerLegacy Audio Stories Made in Partnership with Vox Siren and Xray FM
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by Matt Mastrantuono
July 27 2015
Mural Shows Legacy of Black Women in History
by Donovan M. Smith
July 23 2015
A Rightful Place
by Olivia Olivia
The Portland Observer
July 21, 2015
Mural Unveiled Saturday In Portland Highlights Achievements Of Black Women
by Christina Belasco
Oregon Public Broadcasting