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Commentary: Honoring women who fight all forms of discrimination

Rosie the Riveter

Rosie the Riveter (courtesy graphic)


A little more than 30 years ago, women’s contributions to our society were unrecognized, unknown and most importantly, unwritten. It was the work of the education task force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women that laid the groundwork for what Congress declares as National Women’s History Month.

A new interest has sparked a movement to uncover women’s contributions to our nation and their role in making America the great country that it is today. The vision of our forefathers conjures up pride of what it took to be a nation.

Many women were instrumental in our country’s success. They fought next to men to make our country free.  Unfortunately, they could not fight as women but disguised themselves as men.

These women include: Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley who fought during the Revolutionary War to hold off the enemy until reinforcement came, Deborah Sampson who masqueraded as a man in the Continental Army, and Lucy Brewer who posed as George Baker and served as a Marine for three years on the USS Constitution.

Some of the first women to work in jobs that were traditionally held by men are: Dinah Nuthead, the first female printer, Sadie Orchard, the first female stage coach driver, Mary Fields, the first female U.S. mail coach driver, Emma Nutt, the first female telephone operator, and Lynne Degillio, the first female air traffic controller.

Other notable women include: Anne Williams who invented the diphtheria antitoxin, Alice Sanger, the first female to work at the White House, Capt. Annie Fox, the first female to be awarded the Purple Heart, Sally Ride, the first female in space, and Lt. Col. Eileen  Collins, the first female shuttle pilot.

These exerts reflect just a small sample of the many contributions women have made throughout our nation’s history. Many organizations and projects are involved in promoting the outstanding work completed by women and writing their successes into our American history books. They are working to illustrate their strength and tenacity despite tremendous opposition to the evolution of women.

We need to honor those whose contributions have led to many of our nation’s successes and continue to break down barriers – Past, Present and Future!