Today and every day, we’re celebrating women’s history. Celebrating requires honest teaching about the invaluable contributions and countless acts of resistance of women across the world. Women historically and presently have been leaders in movements for justice. Advocating for more accurate reflections of our history in public education and popular culture is vital to ensuring women of all backgrounds have the tools necessary to reach their full potential.
Here are ways you can join us in celebrating women’s history year-round:
Support children’s freedom to learn and inclusion of women’s history in curriculum: The experiences and achievements of women, particularly women of color, are often absent from our history books. Even today, it is a struggle for women to gain the recognition and praise we’ve earned on an individual and societal scale. Texans must stand up for the freedom to learn for all of our children. CDF-Texas encourages you to pay attention to the actions of your state and federal representatives as well as your local and state school boards. We must ensure that curriculum and books covering gender, sexuality, and race are available for students to read, learn from, and discuss with peers. We must pay attention to the actions of our school boards, speak up against attempts at censorship, and vote for school board members who are devoted to providing an accurate education for our children.
Celebrate and support representation in literature: To celebrate Women’s History Month, we highly recommend the children’s books Mae Among the Stars by Roda Ahmed, I Am Jazz! by Jessica Herthel, and I Am Enough by Grace Byers. These titles explore self-love, confidence, and our complex relationships with gender.
Recognize and help break down the policy barriers:
Policy barriers in areas such as healthcare and immigration disproportionately harm women. The number of reported maternal deaths across the country has increased in recent decades. Black women in particular are ignored or sent home when visiting health professionals. Black and Hispanic women have higher rates of severe maternal morbidity than white women, with Black women dying at nearly 3x the rate of white women. Many low-income women do not have access to insurance, Medicaid or private, that covers the comprehensive postpartum care necessary to resolve complications and prevent death. H.B. 133, passed in the Texas Legislature in 2021, expands postpartum Medicaid coverage from 2 months to 6, granting life-saving coverage for mothers with postpartum complications. We call for medical professionals to investigate complaints of pregnancy complications and a true expansion of Medicaid coverage for postpartum mothers in Texas to one year.
Inhumane immigration enforcement policies undermine the ability of women and families to thrive. “Migrant Protection Protocols”, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, began under the Trump administration and forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while they pursue asylum in the U.S. President Biden has revived and expanded this policy to include asylum seekers from Haiti. Those seeking asylum could be separated from their families and have to endure the daily threat of violent crime. Women and girls historically face additional dangers of gender violence and harassment in immigrating to the U.S., but especially when forced to wait across the border, as discovered by the Human Rights Watch and Human Rights First. Transgender women and girls must decide between living as their authentic selves, which could be fatal or leave them homeless in this limbo period, or hiding their true identity for fear of violent retaliation. SCOTUS will consider whether the Biden administration can end MPP as soon as this summer. We call for the Biden administration and SCOTUS to act in the best interests of all migrants to end the MPP program and put an end to a long history of U.S. government-perpetuated gender violence against all women immigrants.
Celebrate women in your day-to-day life: There are many ways to be a good ally. When a woman is overlooked, interrupted, not given proper credit – speak up. Young women of color have been and continue to be leaders in civic and political engagement, and yet are more likely than white women to be spoken over and have credit for their ideas stolen. Trans girls continue to face legislative attacks on their ability to play sports, receive medical care, and exist as their authentic selves. Be a good ally by ensuring women get credit for their ideas and work, and by standing up for women of all backgrounds.
Thank you for supporting CDF-Texas and committing to celebrating women’s history and defending women’s rights year-round.
Organizations to support that work to bring gender equality and justice:
Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT)