March is the month in which we celebrate women’s history. It’s also a month dedicated to promoting awareness of the progress made in teaching the developmentally disabled. Let’s take a look at both of those worthy causes.
This year’s theme of National Women’s History Month is “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” which is both a tribute to the work of caregivers and frontline workers during the ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.
Check out the timeline throughout the years that guided the way for this annual celebration of the many contributions and achievements which women have given us:
Over 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York City demanding better pay and voting rights.
The first Women’s Day was organized in the United States by the Socialist Party. This day was to remember the women’s strike that took place a year earlier in New York City.
The Socialist International established an International Women’s Day to honor women’s rights in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.
The 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote in America.
The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8.
The first Women’s History Week started in the school district of Sonoma, California. Presentations, contests, and a parade were held all week to bring attention to women’s rights in history.
President Jimmy Carter declared the first official Women History Week for March 2-8.
Many states already had been dedicating a full month to celebrating women. Congress passed a proclamation establishing Women’s History Month.
Remarkable Women in History
Throughout history there have been many women whose contributions have advanced art, music, science, and society. Here are a few of the standout women in history:
- Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote novels that popularized the anti-slavery campaign.
- Susan B. Anthony led the charge of winning voting rights for women by establishing the National Woman’s Suffrage Association.
- Emily Dickinson transformed the art of poetry.
- Catherine Brewer became the first woman to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in 1840.
- Hattie Caraway of Arkansas was the first woman elected to the Senate in 1932.
- Sandra Day O’Connor is the first woman Supreme Court Justice in 1981.
- Kamala Harris is the first woman vice president of the United States.
Many women have added to the advances in the world like winning the right to vote, advancement in the workplace, and much more. Continue the admiration for the women who paved the way for every other woman today, and honor all the remarkable women in your life during Women’s History Month.
March is also Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. A lot has changed in the 35 years since Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in 1987. The main change has come in education which, until fairly recently, had no cohesive plan for teaching the developmentally disabled.
It took decades of trial and error to find the best method for teaching children with special needs. For most of the last century, there were no best practices guidelines for schools to follow, and individual schools determined the methods they thought best.
Some educational philosophies promoted separating special needs learners, while others didn’t make accommodations for them at all, mainstreaming everyone into the same classroom, no matter what their abilities.
Happily, today’s educators have tools and strategies, developed over the years, which provide successful outcomes for those with special needs. The method currently used to ensure the best outcomes for special students is known as inclusion and, thanks to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004, and the required implementation of an Individualized Education Program (IEP), the federal government has set the standard for special needs education.
An IEP can help students in areas like oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skills, reading comprehension, mathematical calculation, mathematics reasoning, or spelling, by providing individualized instruction in these areas, then returning students to the classroom for subjects where individual attention isn’t required. It should be pointed out that, while the IDEA seems to specifically address disabilities, gifted children are also considered to have special needs since they require attention outside the typical classroom, and may also require an IEP.