March is Women’s History Month. This observance was first declared by a law passed by Congress in 1987, and has been continued by Act of Congress or Declaration of the President each year since then.
According to a news release issued Monday, March 4 by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), this year’s theme for Women’s History Month is: “Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).”
In the release, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius specifically honors a number of U.S. women who made significant contributions in the fields of medicine, biology and science.
“The nation this year recognizes such extraordinary women as
- Patricia Era Bath (1942), whose invention of the Laserphaco Probe was an important milestone in the advent of laser cataract surgery;
- Rita R. Colwell (1934), the first woman director of the National Science Foundation;
- Susan A. Gerbi (1944), a molecular cell biologist whose research has potential significance in understanding the role of hormones in certain cancers; and
- Flossie Wong-Staal (1946), a virologist and molecular biologist whose work made it possible to develop HIV tests,”
HHS Secretary Sebelius states in the HHS release issued Monday.
According to the Official Women’s History Month website, during this month, “The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.”
“And I want to acknowledge the thousands of women who work throughout the Department [of Health & Human Services] making sure that groundbreaking biomedical research moves forward, that life-saving vaccines are getting to the public, that community health clinics are accessible to families who have nowhere else to go, that drugs are safe, that our seniors get the health care they need, and that our young children at risk get the Head Start support that is vital to their future success in school,” HHS Secretary Sebelius continues in the HHS release issued Monday.
“The success of American women is critical to our families and economy. Among the initiatives of this administration to advance gender equality, are efforts to bring more women into science and health care professions. Women who hold STEM degrees and jobs earn 30 percent more on average than women in non-STEM jobs,” Secretary Sebelius states.
“We also know that American women – and men – will not have the opportunity to fulfill their potential, provide for their families, and contribute to their communities without accessible, affordable and high-quality health care and insurance,” Secretary Sebelius states in the release.
“For too long, insurance companies stacked the deck against women, forcing us to pay more for coverage that did not meet our needs. Because of the Affordable Care Act, a new day for women’s health has arrived,” the HHS release continues. “Thanks to the health care law, millions of women are benefiting from expanded access to preventive services, such as mammograms and prenatal care, at no additional cost. And millions more will soon have access to the Health Insurance Marketplace – open enrollment starts Oct. 1, 2013 – where they can compare health plans based on benefits, quality and cost and choose the one that best fits their needs.”
“During Women’s History Month, let us remember the women pioneers in the sciences and work to continue their legacy,” the HHS release concludes.
In his Presidential Proclamation of Women’s History Month, 2013, President Barack Obama states, in part:
. . .
“NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2013 as Women’s History Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month and to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2013, with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. I also invite all Americans to visit www.WomensHistoryMonth.gov to learn more about the generations of women who have shaped our history.”
Read more about Women’s History Month on the Women’s History Month website, WomensHistoryMonth.gov.
See the March 5, 2013 News Release issued by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) with a Statement by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about Women’s History Month, 2013.
Read the President’s Proclamation of Women’s History Month, 2013, in its entirety on WhiteHouse.gov.
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