“Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business” –
The 2017 theme for National Women’s History Month honors women who have successfully challenged the role of women in both business and the paid labor force. Women have always worked, but often their work has been undervalued and unpaid.
The 2017 Honorees represent many diverse backgrounds and each made her mark in a different field. Additionally, the Honorees’ work and influence spans three centuries of America’s history. These women all successfully challenged the social and legal structures that have kept women’s labor underappreciated and underpaid.
Facing stark inequalities in the workplace (lower wages, poor working conditions, and limited opportunities), they fought to make the workplace a less hostile environment for women. They succeeded in expanding women’s participation in commerce and their power in the paid labor force. As labor and business leaders and innovators they defied the social mores of their times by demonstrating women’s ability to create organizations and establish their own businesses that paved the way for better working conditions and wages for themselves and other women.
They proved that women could succeed in every field. While each Honoree is extraordinary, each is also ordinary in her own way, proving that women business and labor leaders can and should be considered the norm. Most importantly, the 2017 Honorees paved the way for generations of women labor and business leaders to follow.