How many ways are there to celebrate International Women’s Day? Well, let’s take a look at how it’s been celebrated in the past. The origin of International Women’s Day dates back to a women’s celebration organized by the Socialist Party of America in response to a march in Denmark in 1910. Women in Europe protested by marching on March 19th, 1911, to demand the right to vote and hold public office. In 1975, the United Nations officially recognized International Women’s Day as March 8th.
Did you know that the day is an official holiday in countries like Russia, Kazakhstan, and Zambia? No matter how the day is celebrated, the idea behind the day is to celebrate women’s rights, equality, and progress. This month, we’re looking at women who broke through barriers in 2020 and did something that was once considered impossible for women!
First high school female wrestling champ in North Carolina to win an individual state championship (United States): Teenager Heaven Fitch was the first female wrestling champ in the state of North Carolina. She beat her opponent, a teen boy, in a match that she won 11-3. Asked about her interest in wrestling, Fitch said she was always interested in wrestling because her brothers competed and she was their sparring partner. “(My parents) didn’t want me to wrestle,” she said. “I’m pretty sure it was because they didn’t want me to get hurt. But I would just be like, ‘Well, if they can do it, then I should be able to do it.'”
Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara
You might not know the names Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, but if you’ve ever visited Ireland, Italy, France, Peru, or the United Kingdom, you might have seen one of the buildings that they designed. Farrell and McNamara are world-renowned architects who recently won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, what is commonly known as the “Nobel Prize” in architecture. Only three other women have won this prize before, but this is the first time that the prize was awarded to two women. Farrell and McNamara began working together in 1978 when they, along with three other architects, established Grafton Architects in Dublin, Ireland. While they were originally known for their work on local houses and buildings, it wasn’t until twenty-five years later when they won an international design competition to design The School of Economics building at the Universita Luigi Bocconi in Milan, Italy, that they became international sensations. Since then, they’ve established a reputation for designing large buildings for universities that simply connect indoor and outdoor spaces, and they continue to work on projects around the world.
Captain Rosie Wild
First Female Officer To Pass A Brutal Course (United Kingdom): Even though women were allowed to take All Arms Pre-Parachute selection course, a brutal entry test to an elite regiment of the British Army for more than a decade, Captain Rosie Wild is the first woman to actually complete this rigorous test course. The test included marching ten miles in one hour while carrying a thirty-five-pound backpack, and an endurance test of marching twenty miles with a backpack and a rifle in four and a half hours. Rosie will join the Royal Horse Artillery to serve the British Army.
First Female Conductor At The Oscars (Ireland): Eímear Noone, a music composer who has worked on video games like Overwatch and World of Warcraft, was the first woman to conduct the orchestra. The forty-two-piece orchestra has historically been conducted by men, even though women play a significant role in playing the instruments. Her message to young music conductors? “Keep on keeping on. Know thyself. And failure is part of it. It’s not the fun part, but it’s definitely part of it.”
First Female To Coach At The Super Bowl (United States): Female coaching assistants are still a rarity in the NFL; however, women have broken through the bias barrier in the past few years. In February, Katie Sowers became the first female to coach in the Super Bowl when her team, the San Francisco 49ers, played against the Kansas City Chiefs.