March is Women’s History Month where we celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of women. It began as International Woman’s Day on March 8, 1910. A German activist named Clara Zetkin suggested the idea at an international working women’s conference in Copenhagen, and it began to be celebrated internationally the following year. Many countries recognized and celebrated the day, but the United States didn’t begin celebrating it until 1975.

A task force in California created Women’s History Week in 1977, and President Jimmy Carter made March 8 the beginning of National Women’s History Week. In 1981, a congressional resolution sealed the deal. By 1987, Congress declared the entire month of March Women’s History Month. Since then, every president has declared the month of March Women’s History Month.

Title IX was passed on March 1, 1972. In fact, the first-ever Women’s History Week was created in order to bolster support for Title IX, which prohibited discrimination due to sex in federally funded education programs.

The theme of the month this year is Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories. This theme recognizes “women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, news, and social media.” Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a master storyteller, and I wrote the poem below after reading her book, Women Who Run with the Wolves. My poem is based on the myth of the Wild Woman, who travels the desert picking up bones of wolves and assembling them on the desert floor. When she assembles a complete wolf, she sings and sings until the bones rise up into a live wolf.

Wild Woman
after Women Who Run with the Wolves
by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

A wolf is running free in my soul
toward fire of dawn where she is fed
on bones I gather from a scattered whole.

Legends of dark myths take their toll
as nearer to the core of life I dread
to find the wolf running free in my soul.

I grasp at fading light to gain control
but fall through shadows to my bed
of bones that lie within me as a whole.

Damp mists surround me like a stole
and draw me down within the quiet dead
to run with the wolf free in my soul.

Lithe fingers of a silent dawn unroll
a glowing path where, weary, I am led
to ivory bones that rise a trembling whole.

I soar into the past to meet my goal,
laughing with the sun around my head.
A wolf is running free in my soul;
I sing her bones into a howling whole.

© 1993 Dorothy A Joslyn

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Write about a woman who means, or has meant, a lot to you. Why is she special? How has she influenced you to be the person you are?

Send a card or a note to a woman you care about or love. Tell her how much she means to you.

If you are a woman, celebrate yourself this month in some way that makes you happy.