Each month is usually dubbed “National *something* Month” and of course, March is no different. While March is many things, the most important for me is that March is Women’s History Month and there are plenty of women to celebrate. This month, I will be using this column to take a look at a few of my favorites.

Women have accomplished and done great things during times when they were no where close to equal to men in their rights and freedoms. One of the women that comes to mind when I think of powerful feminist who helped to fight for gender equality is author Virginia Woolf.

Woolf was born in 1882 at a time when women still weren’t really allowed to read or study. During that time, women writers weren’t taken seriously. If a woman was writing or reading, it was thought that she was likely neglecting household duties she should have been doing.

Woolf didn’t much care about what society thought but she was limited. While her brothers went to school at Cambridge, she stayed home. However, she was able to learn from her father’s library.

Eventually Woolf would go on to write several novels and essays. Perhaps one of her most famous essays was “A Room of One’s Own” where she explained the importance of a woman having her own space to create and enough money to support herself.

“A Room of One’s Own” criticized the fact that women were not given the same opportunities as men and that without proper schooling, women were being withheld from the self-sufficiency that came with the income freedom that they need to make something of themselves. Basically, she noted that without financial freedom, women can not have full creative and intellectual freedom, and that women weren’t able to obtain financial freedom without a proper education.

While she was a talented and skilled writer, her works weren’t accepted and embraced until nearly 50 years after they were published. Today, Woolf is taught in colleges and high schools. As an English major, she has been a huge part of my learning.

In one of my favorite quotes from “A Room of One’s Own”, Woolf theorizes that women often had to conceal their gender when publishing a written piece.

“I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman,” she said.

While in an 18th century literature class a few semesters ago, I learned that often women would change their names or submit literary work under “anonymous” in order to be published. Famous modern author J.K. Rowling used her initials to create gender ambiguity after her publishers urged her to change her name because they believed boys would not be interested in reading a story by a female author.

Throughout history, female writers were not taken seriously by many, and prior to the 20th century, especially, many believed that no one was interested in hearing what a woman had to say. Moreover, it was often believed that women just simply couldn’t write as well as men anyway.

While there is no doubt that there are still obstacles that female writers have to maneuver through today, thanks to feminist writers like Virginia Woolf, women are making headway as prominent figures in literature.