Happy Women’s History Month! For the month of march, it’s time to celebrate all of the amazing and strong women who have fought for gender equality and women’s rights throughout time. In the empowering novel by Pip Williams called The Dictionary of Lost Words, the central theme was women fighting for their rights in the early 1900s where the suffragette activists were trying to gain the right to vote. Though the novel is historical fiction, it speaks to a larger cause that those who value women’s rights can get behind. With this month being dedicated to the numerous women who have changed history, this article will share some of the experiences of first-generation college students and why this month is specifically important to them.
So many women in history have fought on a daily basis for equality and rights. Now, it’s time to focus on some first-generation college women, and their own struggles and thoughts on the importance of Women’s History Month and what it means to them. Let’s highlight the contribution of what women have done over time, and how that has made a huge impact on where women are today.
The following responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Why Is Women’s History Month Important To You?
“I grew up with my mom as my idol. She had me as a teenager, and growing up with her has allowed me to see how strong of a woman she is and how many obstacles she had to face with me by her side. Whenever I think of Women’s History Month, I think of my mom and everything she’s done for me so that I could be in the place I’m in right now.” – Mariah Williams, 20, Fanshawe College
“Women’s History Month is important to me because it reflects on the struggles of women and their fight towards equity. It’s also a moment to acknowledge the fact that there are still countries that treat women below men and more needs to be done to secure a future where women are treated fairly, whether it’s in society or the workplace.” – Prusha Balaratman, 20, Queen’s University
“This month shows the importance of women in the past, present, and future, and why it is important to recognize their accomplishments. I am grateful for every woman who has fought for my privileges today.” – Hailey Craven, 19, Queen’s University
“Women’s history month is important to me because it’s important to celebrate women and recognize the inequality we face, especially throughout history.” – Alyssa Spasic, 20, Brescia University College
“It is always important to celebrate the women in our lives and acknowledge all they have done for us, both in the past and present. Women’s History Month gives us a chance to really devote time in recognizing and to appreciate all women.” – Kennedy Cooke, 19, Western University
How are your experiences as a First-Gen College student related to how you feel about Women’s History Month?
“I am a first-generation college student and I am so proud to be able to say that I am even able to pack my bags and move to get an education. Also, as a biracial woman, I am extremely fortunate to receive an education and I would like to thank all of the women who fought for my rights so that I can be here today. Women’s History Month is important to me because I do not have to worry about my education being discriminated against because of my gender.” – Mariah Williams, 20, Fanshawe College
“It reflects back to women in STEM for me. Being in a science-related field with interests in computer science as women is not the easiest. With no prior experiences to draw on about post-secondary life or parents that have similar experiences, it’s a completely new environment for me and often daunting. These experiences have led me to appreciate the opportunity I have that many women do not, and acknowledge the privilege I carry being able to be treated equally to my peers. Though we have a long way to go, there’s a sense of empowerment when you realize the history women have been through to make the advances they have!” – Prusha Balaratman, 20, Queen’s University
“I feel very empowered to know that I am a first-generation university student, and hope to carry that out for my children in the future as well.” – Hailey Craven, 19, Queen’s University
“Being a woman in STEM has helped me appreciate how far we have come as a society. If I was born in a past time period, I would not have had the opportunity to pursue school, much less a science program that has been known to be a male-dominated field. I want to strive towards gender equality, and I’m very grateful that I get to have a post-secondary education.” – Alyssa Spasic, 20, Brescia University College
“Being the first-gen woman in my family to pursue a bachelors degree gives me an indescribable sense of pride, and makes me so grateful for what the women in my life have done for me to be able to have an opportunity like this. I am especially grateful to those who never had the option to pursue the same level of education I am taking part in. They have always been the ones who inspire me to work hard, and I owe my strong work ethic to them.” – Kennedy Cooke, 19, Western University