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weaving the story of women's lives   If you watched the Academy Awards recently, you heard Patricia Arquette, winner of the 2015 Best Supporting Actress Oscar, give a shout-out for equal pay and rights for women during her acceptance speech. Arquette said, “The truth is: even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are applied that really do affect women.”

So if you are a female college student (or a male student with a sister, wife or daughter), how does this issue affect you? Well, did you know that among full-time workers one year after college graduation, women were paid just 82 percent of what their male counterparts were paid? It’s hard to believe, but “at every level of academic achievement, women’s median earnings are less than men’s earnings, and in some cases, the gender pay gap is larger at higher levels of education (aauw.org)!

Last year, when I wrote this blog, Iowa ranked 29th in the United States in the gender pay gap. Iowa has now slipped to 33rd. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was supposed to correct this, but it didn’t. So in 1987 Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month to recognize, honor, and celebrate the achievements of American women.

This year’s theme is “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.” The theme presents the opportunity to weave women’s stories – individually and collectively – into the essential fabric of our nation’s history. The National Women’s History Project, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary, has chosen to honor 9 very diverse women who contributed to writing women back into history. The honorees include a Native American, Hispanic American, African Americans, and Asian American women. They are historians, educators, singer/songwriters, journalists and even a medicine woman.

Come learn about these 9 fascinating women @ your Kirkwood Cedar Rapids library this month. Posters with their pictures and bios will be displayed on the library tables during the month of March. Women’s history books will be prominently displayed on the library’s bookshelves by the reference desk and available for check-out. An online guide with poignant and funny videos, articles and photos about women is available through the library’s website at: http://guides.kirkwood.edu/womenstudies

Also, be sure to check the Kirkwood library’s Facebook page where each day you will learn some very surprising facts about the lives of American women!