March is Women’s History Month—a time when we honor the contributions of women to our history, culture and society and pay tribute to the millions of women who paved the way for future generations.
Women like Mrs. Florence M. Rice, founder of the Harlem Consumer Education Council, a civil rights activist, and “Shero” of mine for over 20 years. Despite her humble beginnings as an orphan in New York and her eighth grade educational level, she became a member of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. She organized many successful boycotts against companies who were overcharging minorities in Harlem. Mrs. Rice also fought for equality and inclusion of women. In the 1990s, she compelled the Bell Atlantic Technology Center to locate in Harlem in order to teach women and seniors the latest advances in technologies. Today, at the age of 93, she continues to champion for justice of women and girls.
Mrs. Rice epitomizes this year’s theme for Women’s History Month, “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment.” When women and girls attain higher levels of education, the ripple effect can be seen within the community, family, and across generations.
At the Women’s Bureau, we recognize that the educational investment in women and girls is critical to our nation’s future. We recently released “Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman’s Guide to a Sustainable Career” to educate women about job training and career development opportunities in innovative; clean energy; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and nontraditional jobs. Conscious inclusion of women in these emerging industries will enable our country to out educate and out innovate our global competitors.
As President Obama said in his 2012 Women’s History Month Proclamation, “While we have made great strides toward equality, we cannot rest until our mothers, sisters, and daughters assume their rightful place as full participants in a secure, prosperous, and just society.”
To find out more about the Women’s Bureau visit our website at www.dol.gov/wb.
Sara Manzano-Díaz is the Director of the Women’s Bureau.