This women's history month we're celebrating the women who nevertheless, persisted
Each year, the National Women’s History Project (NWHP), an organization dedicated to honoring and preserving women’s history, chooses a theme for Women’s History Month. The theme this March is a feminist rallying cry that dates back to last year: “Nevertheless, She Persisted.” In line with this theme, the NWHP will honor 15 women who, despite facing discrimination, persevered throughout their fights for social justice causes, ranging from criminal justice reform to immigrant rights, to education equality, to racial justice and beyond.
“'Nevertheless, She Persisted' is really about every woman who really had to use her tenacity and courage to accomplish whatever she set out to accomplish,” Molly Murphy MacGregor, executive director and co-founder of the NWHP, stated on the organization’s Facebook page. “You think about our mothers and grandmothers — they’ve been persisting for a very long time.”
The 2018 honorees have all undeniably made positive changes in American women’s lives. Take, for example, Geraldine Ferraro, who was a human rights activist and the first woman major-party VP candidate; Saru Jayaraman, who is a labor and restaurant workers activist; and Pat Maginnis, the groundbreaking abortion rights activist.
While this theme certainly applies to past trailblazers, the phrase itself is notably modern. It gained popularity in February of last year, after a debate held in regard to President Trump’s nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general. Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren protested Sessions’ nomination because of his record on civil rights. In order to stand up for her beliefs, she spoke on the Senate floor for about an hour. In her speech, she quoted a 1986 letter written by Coretta Scott King, which King expressed her opposition to Sessions’ appointment as a federal judge. Senator Warren was eventually silenced by the rest of the Senate when they voted along party lines to stop her from continuing to speak during the debate. Sen. Warren was even reprimanded by Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate majority leader, who said, “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
McConnell’s reproach went on to (unintentionally) elevate Warren’s message: that those in power shouldn’t hold biased and bigoted attitudes. His words have since even been applied to the greater political resistance movement. The phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted” has become an widespread hashtag on Twitter, inspired Chelsea Clinton to write a children’s book, and even inspired tattoos.
The theme for this Women’s History Month, therefore, isn’t merely a celebration of all that women have achieved and overcome so far in a patriarchal society, but also a message of hope and inspiration for future women: It encourages them to continue the fight for equality, no matter the obstacles and/or repercussions they may face.
More articles by Category: Feminism
More articles by Tag: Women's history, Women's leadership