CELEBRATING WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH
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.”
The colors of Women's History Month are purple, green, and white. Each of these colors has their roots in the suffrage movement but continue to have modern meanings today. .
Historically, white was included as part of Women’s History Month’s palette because it represents purity and equality. The concept of purity was "especially important to contradict the smear tactics of the anti-suffragists, who portrayed suffragists as loose or immoral women," according to Barnes. However, the symbolic meaning of purity has lost its original value because of its current controversial associations with current depictions of white marking equality, truth and freedom.
“Since the movement’s origins, the color white has been used in association with equality and was used by women’s rights activists,” York says. “As an example, in 1978 to support the Equal Rights amendment, 200,000 women dressed in white marched on Washington D.C. wearing white with sashes in purple and green.”
White is said to calm and comfort us, as well as have an uplifting effect, shares York. “Throughout history, including the women’s movement, white has been worn during important rituals. This color leaves our minds open to possibility and serves to uplift our thoughts and mood.”
Ah, visions of verdant mountains and fertile valleys. “The color green symbolizes hope, new beginnings and growth,” York says.
Generally speaking, the color green represents nature. “There are deep meanings associated with it as it brings one a feeling of being closer to nature thereby soothing stress and boosting our moods.,” York says. “It is thought that it has ancient positive roots due to this association of nature’s cycle of new growth, rebirth and harmony, and the hope of these new beginnings.”
As for purple, Barnes points to a blog post by Stephanie Hall in the Library of Congress about symbolism in the Women’s Suffrage Movement."In England purple symbolized royalty, loyalty to the cause, and women’s quest for freedom," Hall writes. In the U.S., however, purple lacks the royal nod.
"Purple is recognized internationally as the color of women and gender equality,” York says, adding that it stands for justice and dignity, and signifies visionary thinking.
Something else to note: York point out that purple is a beautiful mixture of red and blue, which physiologically may have a calming and inspiring effect on body and mind.
What about gold?
This metallic hue deserves mention, too. “Gold was also a popular color for American suffragists. It emerged from their losing battle for suffrage in the state of Kansas in 1867, when they adopted the sunflower, Kansas’ state flower, as their symbol,” Barnes says. “The gold of the sunflower was seen as ‘a beacon of hope’ and was adopted by American suffragists along with the purple and white from the UK movement.”
So, if you like glitz, feel free to accessorize with gold — in addition to purple, white, and green — during the month. By Perri Ormont Blumberg