The importance of looking forward during Women's History Month [Commentary]

In the modern age, Women's History Month, observed annually during March, includes social media posts of Rosie the Riveter, a feminist hero who came to symbolize the strength of women's economic power and changed the perception of "women's jobs" in the workplace.

Websites also become overloaded with quotes from Audre Lorde, a Caribbean-American writer, civil rights leader and feminist who challenged traditional ideals of feminist thought emphasizing the realities of the black plight, which were overlooked in the first wave of the feminist movement.


One quote is: "I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't."

Throughout the month, tons of women's rights advocates will voice their opinions on national and local TV news segments giving insight of the historical journey of women: from being seen as property, to the objectification of the female body as simply a vehicle for sexual gratification to women's struggle for ownership over her reproductive system and when she decides to bring life into the world.

But, as we recap all of the great strides women have made toward gender equality and have pushed for sensitivity and understand about our needs, wants and desires for ourselves, even during the month of March there is little talk about the many injustices still facing women in the United States and around the globe.

Instead of simply using Women's History Month to highlight the work of feminist leaders and the contributions of the women's empowerment movement, this time should also be used to look at the current plight facing women and to continue our fight for equality.

Even in 2014, women still face a monumental task ahead of them in striving to achieve equality.

According to a study released by the Pew Research Center, in 2012 in America women earned 84 cents for every $1 made by their male counterparts. Overall, women made 16 to19 percent less than men, further growing the disparity in women's economic power.

Let us not forget, young Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani who at the age of 14 was shot in the face for uncovering the gross injustices made against a young girl pursuing an education in her country.

Malala detailed at great length for various news organizations the Taliban's attempt to keep young girls from pursuing an education in her country. She was then targeted and shot three times in the head in an assassination attempt.

Malala's advocacy shows the struggle is not yet over.

Even locally, in Harford County, with the recent appointment of Circuit Court Judge Yolanda Curtin last November, she alongside Judges Angela Eaves and M. Elizabeth Bowen, have for the first time created a women majority 3-2 on the bench.

The fact that in 2014, firsts like this still exist, show the ever-blatant struggle for equality is not over.

During Women's History Month, honor the foremothers who have sacrificed their time, their freedom and, in some case, their lives to fight for equality and women's rights. But, also remember to research, dig and push for conversations about the disparities women are facing in America and around the globe in education, job opportunities, income, social norms, access to medical care and health care and the ability to make their own decisions just to name a few.

The struggle for equality for women is not over, and if you don't talk about it, who will?

Let's remember these words by the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: "Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes."