Women & Literacy
Women’s History Month In Review
Women’s History Month in the United States began in 1987, with the intention of celebrating women’s excellence and giving credit to successful and innovative women of the world. Since 1987, every March has been dedicated to celebrating women for their accomplishments in math, science, politics – and literature. Prior to the nineteenth century women were excluded from literature as many did not have the education or resources to become literate. As the world evolved, more women began learning to read and write, resulting in some of the greatest authors of all time: Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Emily Dickinson, and Sylvia Plath, to name a few.
Women’s History Month is not only a celebration of women’s excellence, but a challenge to consider how we can continue it. Illiteracy is a monumental problem the world faces, women being the hardest hit. According to the Oxford Internet Institute, global literacy (defined as the ability to read or write over the age of 15) stands at 82%, while 87% of men and just 77% of women are literate. So how do we improve female literacy rates? And why is this important?
As Women’s History Month ends, our interest in women’s literacy and female empowerment should just be beginning. As the Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan once said, “Literacy is the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”
Blog by Karenna.