With its designation as Women’s History Month, March is awash in celebration of women’s innumerable contributions to society. Today marks International Women’s Day, an observance that saw its inception in the early 1900s and which is now an official holiday in many countries, with over 1,000 events scheduled to take place in some form or another around the world.
In Washington, D.C., plans are currently underway for a physical location for the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM), presently online in cyberspace, waiting for a legislative march through Congress to provide the site with a permanent venue in the nation’s capital.
A high-profile supporter should help in making that a reality. Freshly re-minted Oscar-winner Meryl Streep, left, who’s already donated $1 million to the project – as well as her salary from The Iron Lady – is something of the fairy godmother for a dream that is close to her heart. “There are museums in Washington, D.C. for everything from postage stamps to poetry to spies,” Streep ironically notes, while also stating that the project is vitally important “because our history was written by the other team.“ The facility would be located on the Washington Mall, alongside the National Air & Space Museum and the Grant Memorial, with plans for a design by a female architect, making it the first repository on the Mall to be fashioned by a woman. It’s expected to be funded with private donations.
Already in place and marking 25 years since its opening in D.C. in 1987 is the National Museum of Women in the Arts, an assemblage of women’s creative legacies through the centuries. Among the artists in the collection, Georgia O’Keeffe, below, who summed up the frustrations of many pioneers when she mused in 1923:
“One day seven years ago, I found myself saying to myself: I can’t live where I want to, I can’t go where I want to go, I can’t do what I want to, I can’t even say what I want to … I decided I was a very stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to.”
It’s that very same spirit that we celebrate today.