Women's History Month: The Importance of Female Narratives

Mahnoor Sargana | Islamabad, Pakistan “Recognizing the achievements of women in all facets of life – science, community, government, literature, art, sports, medicine – has a huge impact on the development of self-respect and new opportunities for girls and young women.” (NWHA) The above sentence comprehensively states the importance of women’s narrative and stories in history. History is a safe classroom for education for all. It teaches with proof of what works and what doesn’t. Reactions to certain situations, patterns followed through civilization to civilization, experiments and most of all stories of our ancestors to extract wisdom from. For if the narrative of the woman is missing, the accomplishments they achieved, the success and loss, the stories filled with morals and how they conducted their lives during different times - it is depriving all the young girls and boys with the perspective of women excelling in various fields. It is also teaching these young girls and boys that success in the past was only achieved by men, and therefore, the pursuit of "greatness" is only meant for them. So many of our history textbooks are filled with the stories of men who were in power, or shaped by the civilizations which had the resources to shape the stories that have carried on into generations today. It is not only vital that we have women's stories represented in these narratives, and that we seek out those stories which barely make the footnotes of history textbooks, but it is also important that we include the stories of women of colour, women who are from minority communities, and women of different abilities. The reality that ‘women leadership’ and ‘female entrepreneurs’ are considered ‘feats’ never done before is undermining the female potential. More like not giving the due credit to 49.6% of the world population. We are taught history at school from early academic years. Imagine history books filled with the right proportion of female contribution to history. All the future leaders would grow with the idea of women contributing to all aspects of society as norm. They would reimagine their possibilities as women themselves, and dream big, with the amazing trailblazing contributions of women like them throughout history to support them. Most importantly, we would be working towards a more equal world, in which the goal of gender equality would be within our reach. As the former Secretary-General of the UN once said, “There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women." Note from the Editors: October is National Women's History month in Canada. This article is written in light of this important month.

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© 2020 by Maryam and Nivaal Rehman