Sarah’s 5 – Celebrating Women’s History (& future) in Nashville

March is Women’s History Month and as the mother of 3 young girls, I aim to provide my kids with experiences, role-models and support to both honor women from our past and also seek out women in their lives NOW who are striving for equality and creativity so that my girls will be among the women leading the future. Nashville is full of rich women’s history and also current women – in science, business, music and so much more – who are changing the culture of our city and country – just as the women in our history started for us. Today, I’m sharing 5 ideas to honor women’s history (and women’s present & future) with your daughters AND sons this month right here in Nashville.

1. Women’s Suffrage

Did you know that Tennessee played an integral role in the women’s suffrage movement? In 1920, Tennessee was the final and deciding vote to pass the proposed 19th Amendment to the Constitution. This vote hinged on an 11th-hour change of heart by state legislator Harry Burn thanks to a powerful letter that his mother wrote to him encouraging/insisting that he vote yes! And so he did — thus allowing women in America the right to vote!

Native Nashvillian, Anne Dallas Dudley, the founder and first president of the Nashville Suffrage league, rallied up thousands of women during that vote, and her efforts were not only instrumental on the local level but on the national level as well.

Activity:

Visit the Tennessee Women’s Suffrage Monument at Centennial Park featuring Anne Dallas Dudley and four other women who worked for women’s equality. The piece, created by renowned Nashville sculptor Alan LeQuire, was commissioned by the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Monument organization to commemorate the importance of Tennessee’s pivotal role in granting women the right to vote.

2. Women in Civil Rights

A leader in our nation’s civil rights movement, Diane Nash was a prominent figure in the Nashville’s lunch counter sit-ins and other civil rights protests across the country. In 1960, three weeks after she asked then mayor Ben West on the steps of City Hall if he felt it was wrong to discriminate against a person solely on their race, several of the city’s lunch counters began serving African Americans.

Activity:

Today, you and your kids can visit the Downtown Library Civil Rights Room where you can learn about Nash and other women and men who were leaders in the Civil Rights Movement. You can sit at the symbolic lunch counter and read the Ten Rules of Conduct carried by the protesters during the sit-ins and examine the timeline of local and national events. Also, the Civil Rights Room overlooks the intersection of Church Street and Seventh Avenue North, where nonviolent protests against segregated lunch counters took place.

3. Women in Science

Thanks to Nashville’s world-renowned universities, medical centers and research institutions, opportunities for women and girls in STEM are flourishing.

Activity:

On Saturday, March 11, visit Brain Blast and join Vanderbilt scientists including Dr. Rebecca Ihrie and Dr. Laurie Cutting, among others, to learn tons of fun stuff about brains and talk to some of Nashville’s scientists. You can spend your morning building a neuron, touching a real brain, and you may even meet some creepy crawly lab critters.

4. Women in Music

So many women have made their mark in the music industry right here in Music City – from Dolly Parton to Loretta Lynn to Tammy Wynette – female musicians have been pushing the bar for women’s voices in the music industry for decades.

Activity:

Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and explore the women featured here. The Hall of Fame’s permanent exhibit “Sing Me Back Home” features everyone from Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton to Reba and the Dixie Chicks. The museum is also home to the Taylor Swift Education Center.

5. Women in Local Business

I could write for days about all of the amazing women-owned businesses here in Nashville (last November, I even featured 5 local female artists here at The Nashville Mom). I personally believe we should teach our kids the benefits of supporting locally-owned and also women-owned businesses here in Nashville year round.

Activity:

Take your kids on a day-out to visit and explore women-owned businesses around town. Teach them about the amazing women who lead some of our favorite shops, restaurants and businesses. Here are just a few you could include:

  • Start your morning with coffee (hot chocolate for your kids) and a sweet treat at Dozen Bakery.
  • Head over to Parnassus Books where you can read some books about women’s history too (A couple favorites include: Little People Big Stories series by Various Authors and RAD American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl)
  • Head to West Nashville to grab lunch at Thistle Farms Cafe and admire the amazing teacup chandeliers.
  • Check out a kids yoga class at Blooma Nashville.
  • Visit Magpies for some adorable young girl or baby clothes and gifts.
  • Pop over to Las Paletas for some out-of-this world Mexican Popsicles to finish off your local Nashville women-owned business adventure!

Are there other women-owned businesses you love in Nashville? Or other Nashville women in history we should know about? Please share in the comments and let us know how you will celebrate women’s history…present…and future here in Nashville!

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