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Nevertheless She Persisted

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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In 1968 Phillip Morris launched the first cigarette brand marketed to women, Virginia Slims. "You've Come a Long Way Baby" was its slogan. The ad campaign successfully captured the women's rights movement at the time.

Ten years later the school district of Sonoma, California conducted a week-long celebration of women's contributions to culture, history and society. Ten years after that (1987), the U.S. Congress designated March as Women's History Month. Each year there is a special theme and women whose lives exemplify that theme are selected National Honorees.

This year's theme is "Nevertheless She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women". Fifteen women, including Geraldine Ferraro, Marty Langelan and Linda Spoonster Schwartz are being honored in 2018 for their persistent efforts in fighting discrimination against women and girls. For the first time, March 8th was designated International Women's Day - A global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women.

When I graduated from college in 1969, women were teachers and men were administrators. It was very difficult at the time for a woman to be taken seriously enough to be considered a leader. It was assumed she would get married, have children and stay home to raise them. The questions that would be asked in an interview would now be considered discriminatory. As a retired Superintendent of Schools, I don't care what Phillip Morris said. It took a long time for women to "come a long way"! But we did!

Of course, we don't need a specific month to honor women. Parents and teachers should always be showing children examples of men and women who exhibit the character traits we value; the ones that are depicted in the scenes of "Don't Be That KID! At School", such as honesty, consideration, problem solving, kindness, respect, positive thinking, completing tasks and self-reflection. And we must be vigilant in teaching girls that they can accomplish anything with hard work and integrity.

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