The Women's Studies Department at the University of Central Florida is teaming up with feminist organizations in their area to with the goal of creating America's first national holiday for women. We'd like to honor suffragist Alice Paul.
For those who don’t know, Paul founded the National Women’s Party in 1916, and is the author of the Equal Rights Amendment. Having a holiday in her honor would dispel many of the stereotypes surrounding the feminist movement, and educate American students about women’s history in much the same way Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday does for the Civil Rights Movement.
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To: U.S. Congress
In the United States, ten federal holidays are recognized every year. These holidays observe exceptional historical moments and commemorate the accomplishments of influential men, such as Martin Luther King Jr. However, the phenomenal accomplishments of women are glaringly absent from this list, overlooking a history of women for girls to look back to for motivation and empowerment. According to the most recent Census Bureau estimate, women make up fifty percent of our population, yet our secondary educational curriculum makes little to no mention of the ongoing fight for women’s equality. How can our schools continue to undervalue the role of women in history when so many of its students are girls?
Just as the history civil rights movement became standardized in education through the commemoration of Dr. King, so can the recognition of the suffrage movement become possible in honoring Alice Paul. The suffrage movement in the United States marked an essential change in the rights of American female citizens. Women such as Alice Paul marched, campaigned, rallied, fought, faced political imprisonment, were tortured and died so women could face recognition as full citizens under the law. In overlooking the accomplishments of these women in our celebration of American history, not only do we ignore their labor but we also deny entire generations of the knowledge that women have always fought for rights. Women’s history faces systematic oppressive through omission, and a national holiday would promote a widespread increase in awareness and appreciation of generations of women who dared to fight for equality. We ask not for a day off from school, but a day in which educational institutions instruct both genders on the role of women in defending the American ideals of freedom and liberty.
We ask for your help and support in the effort to create a federal holiday recognizing the struggle for women’s equality.
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