Human beings tell stories. We are the only animals that use abstract constructs to reinforce social norms, record history, pass on philosophical and religious standards, and otherwise create and perpetuate civilization. Stories are bigger than the people that tell them; stories can illuminate future possibilities; stories can heal. Human beings are Storytellers, and Storytellers create better human beings; we need more of them.
According to their website, the National Women’s History Alliance, which spearheaded the movement for March being declared National Women’s History Month, has announced the women’s history theme for 2023, “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.”
Women are some of the first teachers and storytellers of our lives, in cradle songs, bed-time stories, and information passed down in the form of family histories, recipes, and the handing down of household items that hold both functional and sentimental value; a grandmother’s bread-making wooden bowl, or an auntie’s quilted or crocheted blanket. Women who tell our stories shape our lives.
Here are some ways to celebrate Women’s History Month and the storytellers in your lives.
The earliest known named author in world history is often identified as a woman named Enheduanna. She was a Mesopotamian poet, priestess, princess, and author and lived in what is now Iraq. “…she is credited with creating the paradigms of poetry, psalms, and prayers used throughout the ancient world which led to the development of the genres recognized in the present day.” according to the World History Encyclopedia.
“To put her precedence in perspective, she lived fifteen hundred years before Homer, seventeen hundred years before Sappho, and two thousand years before Aristotle, who is traditionally credited as the father of the rhetorical tradition.” states The New Yorker.
The New York Public Library offers a curated list of titles for Women’s History Month for Kids. Check out titles like “Who was Frida Kahlo?” and “Girl on a Motorcycle” online, through the NYPL app, or through your own local public library system. The Polonsky Exhibitions at the NYPL showcases women storytellers in many forms; from the arts and media to advocacy. The Bloomberg Connects free arts and culture app can help you explore these opportunities to learn and listen to women’s voices.
The Washington D.C. library system has their 2023 Women’s History Month events, exhibitions, and recommended reads lists on their website; check it out! There are recommendations and resources for children, teens, and adults. These include autobiographies, historical and contemporary fiction, novels, perspectives from people of color, science fiction, and more.
Disney+ offers a curated selection of female leads to celebrate women’s history with categories including Sisterhood, Women of Impact, Coming of Age, Doctors and Veterinarians, Animation and Live Action Movies, Documentaries and Docuseries, Women in Music, and more.
You can also tune in to ABC, Freeform, FX, National Geographic, and Hulu to find female-led fiction like “Abbot Elementary” and “Grey’s Anatomy” among others, along with women-focused documentaries and more.
Learn from Women’s History And Women’s Voices
A tale as old as time; indeed, Enheduanna’s people are credited as some of the first formal time-keepers. Women are the first story tellers in our lives; our mothers, our sisters, our teachers. It is time to listen; listening to stories will change the world.
Women’s Footprint in History (interactive United Nations presentation)
Celebrate Women’s History Month with The Walt Disney Company (March 4, 2022)
Don’t neglect the power of combining strategy and story (Credit Union Insight)