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  • Writer's pictureVariant Magazine

5 Women Who Shaped and Continue to Shape Women’s History Month

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

By Maya Meade, Blogger

Women’s History Month is a month-long event that highlights the contributions and accomplishments of women throughout history and those who are making changes in the world today. Passed by Congress in 1981, the celebration began as Women’s History Week and then continued to expand over the years until it became Women’s History Month in 1995. Since the declaration of Women’s History Month and in the years leading up to it, many women have left their marks and made many positive changes in the world.

Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is a best-selling author who is transforming the dialogue surrounding feminism and the way people treat their bodies. Some of her most famous works include Hunger, a memoir about her body and the struggles she faced with food for the majority of her life, and Bad Feminist, a collection of essays that cover feminism, politics and criticisms. She utilizes social media to share empowering and critical messages about the world we are living in and how we need to pay attention.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was born in Coyoacan, Mexico in 1907. For much of her life she was known as the wife of her husband until she gained popularity through her art and became memorable for her feminism and activist messages. Her life was emotionally and physically challenging after being in the shadows for so long and contracting polio when she was only six years old.

Having a physical disability and facing trauma caused her artwork to be incredibly unique and went against societal norms. She portrayed herself much differently than she actually looked, giving herself masculine features and clothes not typically worn by the other women in her life. Throughout her life, Kahlo consistently supported the idea that women do not need to fit the patriarchal ideas that have been laid out for them and used her art and clothing choices to convey that message.

Photos by Maddy Salyer

Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman, who recently celebrated her 23rd birthday, has broken the mold for writers and women in politics in recent months. Making her debut at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, she struck the hearts and minds of many with her poetry. Gorman’s poetry and activism focuses on issues surrounding race, feminism, oppression, African diaspora and marginalization. As a cum laude graduate from Harvard University, an award winning writer and the youngest inaugural poet in history, Gorman is inspiring young women around the world.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is arguably one of the most well-known members of the Supreme Court in United States history. She consistently fought for the rights of others while facing adversity throughout her lifetime as she watched the people around her struggle with illnesses while having cancer herself later in life. Throughout the emotional tolls that challenged her, she never stopped fighting for others. Experiencing gender-based discrimination at Harvard and in the workplace motivated Ginsburg to make changes while serving in the Supreme Court. She helped pass laws which enforced changes like employers cannot discriminate against employees based on gender or reproductive choices, women must be allowed to serve on juries, state-funded schools must admit women and women have the right to financial independence, equal benefits and social security.

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg has made many public appearances in recent years. At only 18 years old, she has been the face of environmental activism and was named Person of the Year by Time magazine in 2019. Thunberg started a global movement by camping out in front of the Swedish Parliament for the sake of climate change, met the Pope, frequently spoke out against President Trump during his administration and addressed heads of state at the United Nations. On Sept. 20, 2019, four million people joined Thunberg in one of the largest global demonstrations in human history. Since then, she has continued to fight for climate change and be a model for young activists everywhere.

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