There’s always good reason to feel thankful this time of year. Each day takes us closer to the warmer season that we all love.
Along with the assurance that spring is on its way, March also gave us reason to reflect fondly as it was Women’s History Month. It does seem that there’s a month for everything these days, and we shouldn’t really need a designated month to remind us to think about the contributions of women throughout history, but there were some things of note that fit into the theme.
One was how our University of Wyoming Cowgirls made the community proud as they fought hard in their postseason, winning three games in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament. The games were exciting and served as an excellent cap to a successful season. The Cowgirls came up short in their final game, but that doesn’t negate how exciting it was getting to that point. It is hard when your team loses in the playoffs because it can all seem for naught; but we should keep in mind in those situations that being successful enough to have a postseason, and then winning games in that competition, is a remarkable achievement.
It serves as a reminder, too, that we should be filling seats during the Cowgirls’ regular season next year in the Arena Auditorium. Having an encouraging crowd making noise at home games helps our teams win and makes our community proud. The regular season can be long, but it all pays off for a playoff run that’s earned in those 34 games.
Our hats are off to UW’s Student Veterans Service Center for hosting the She Served event recently, highlighting women in the armed services. (Granted, it took place on April 1, but that’s not too far removed from March for it to fit into the theme of Women’s History Month.) Our service men and women all make sacrifices, but women can face unique sets of challenges that many overcome. Marty Martinez, senior project coordinator for the VSC, said a lot of people forget about women’s contributions as service members and told the Boomerang about stories from female veterans who said their veteran status has been questioned or simply not acknowledged at all. Having a great example like U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jenniffer Teets speak to those in attendance about what she’s overcome can help us all understand how we can better support those who serve.
Throughout the year, we’re also thinking about the 150th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Wyoming. The state faces some follies with gender equality today, including being at the bottom of the barrel among states in equal pay, and reasonable minds can always question the motivation behind the territorial assembly made up of men granting women the right to vote. But we should be proud to be the first state to grant women that right, and we should use that to motivate our communities to be leaders in equality.
Laramie specifically has its place in women’s history by seeing Louisa Swain casting the first vote in an election, for which we’ll celebrate the 150th anniversary in 2020. Laramie native Mary Bellamy was the first woman to serve in the Wyoming Legislature. The first women to sit on a jury took place in the Gem City, as well. There’s certainly more one can point to, but these are just a few examples of how our community has a remarkable history surrounding the progress in women’s issues, and that’s something we can be thankful for in this commemorating year and beyond. We hope everyone will take some time to stop and enjoy some of our historical amenities by visiting the Wyoming Women’s History House and Laramie Plains Museum this spring and summer to learn more about these fascinating events and more.
It’s impossible to fit all the reasons we should be thankful for the contributions of women in our community into a single column, as these historical and daily efforts improve our lives constantly. But we hope some of these mentions will help us take a moment to remember the work and sacrifice that makes us proud to be known as the Equality State.