Honoring Women’s History by Investing in Women and Girls

This featured guest piece is an excerpt of our March 2024 newsletter.

Dear Colleagues:

Happy Women’s History Month!

It’s always a great pleasure to be with you to celebrate International Women’s Day – in March and on every other day of the year.

Officially recognized by the United Nations in 1977, International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labor movements at the turn of the 20th century in North America and across Europe.

According to the UN, where the MCSW charter also derives from, the first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on 28 February. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honor of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions.

But the first milestone in US was much earlier – in 1848.

“Indignant over women being barred from speaking at an anti-slavery convention, Americans Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott congregate a few hundred people at their nation’s first women’s rights convention in New York. Together they demand civil, social, political and religious rights for women in a Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions,” according to the UN.

As a result? A movement was born.

Every year, the United Nations has a theme for international Women’s Day. This year’s theme is a call to ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress”, and the UN encourages everyone to take a stand using the hashtag #InvestInWomen. The 2024 theme highlights the importance of gender equality, women’s and girls’ empowerment, and their rights to healthier lives. It’s our mission in action.

Reflecting on this year’s theme reminds me of our many on-going initiatives investing in women—especially young women. The MCSW may only be 25 years old, but the need to center women and girls at the forefront of policy is as old as time itself. Invest in women and you change the very fabric of our communities.

And so, I ask you to join me this month in sharing opportunities that invest in women and girls across the Commonwealth:

  1. Register for our upcoming hybrid public hearing: Our public hearings are a key part of our work, bridging the gap between the issues real people face and legislative/policy solutions that could address the root of these issues. Register now to join us in Gardner on 3/28/24 and make your voice heard. 
  2. Sign up for the 2024 GELI Summit: Our Girls Empowerment Leadership Initiative is an annual summit that organizes girls and gender-expansive youth across the Commonwealth to engage in civic engagement training that prepares them to advocate for issues in their communities. Share the opportunity with a young person in your life. Register now for GELI 4/20/2024. 
  3. Apply for MCSW’s new scholarship opportunity: Designed to support woman-identifying students already enrolled in a Massachusetts Public Higher Education Institution, scholarships will be available to help an individual complete their degree. The MCSW will award 5, $5,000 scholarships to nontraditional adult woman students. The deadline has been extended to 3/15/2024. Apply now or share with a woman in your life.

Together, we can honor this year’s 2024 Women’s Day Theme by investing in women and girls right here in the Commonwealth. With so many incredible women leaders working every day to make their corner of the state just a little brighter, I know anything is possible.

Shaitia Spruell
MCSW Executive Director