As a reader of and writer for Ms. and a women’s studies professor, I, like many of us, believe that the study and celebration of women’s history shouldn’t be relegated to just one month. Still, President Jimmy Carter designated a Women’s History Week in 1980, and then, in 1987, the month of March became officially devoted to celebrating the contribution of women to our vast national and global histories–and I can’t complain about the spotlight it’s put on amazing women of the past.
I’m all for women’s history: I teach it in my women’s studies class and I love learning about women politicians, scientists, artists and writers whose life stories were buried under a narrow-minded, patriarchal historical canon. I believe it is unequivocally important for women and men to understand that the conventional historical narrative often comes to us constricted and dulled, with many great women and people of color lost in the shadows. I hammer home in my students the importance of early feminist movements and ideas, how contemporary feminism rests on the shoulders of women who came before. But sometimes … sometimes I want to look forward to the future of feminism–not where we were, but how far we have left to go.
It seems particularly apt this year, in light of Ms. magazine’s 40th anniversary, that we here at the Ms. Blog do things a little differently.
To complement the posts celebrating Women History Month the usual way, with a look back at our foremothers, I’m proposing a look forward. Feminism isn’t a thing of the past. It’s very much alive. So during the month of March, I’ll be offering Ms. Blog readers a smorgasbord of contemporary feminism: organizations, people, issues and innovations that speak to the future of feminist leadership, scholarship and creativity in this millennium.
Many of the suggestions for this series were sent to me by Ms. readers, and there are still a few slots open. If you know of an organization or a person doing new and exciting things in the name of gender equality, empowering women and girls, or putting a unique spin on old ideas, let me know.
Welcome to the Future of Feminism. Please join us!