Beginning Women’s History Month by Remembering “Fighting Shirley”

Rep. Shirley Chisholm. Courtesy of the Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives.

As you may know, March is Women’s History Month. Similar to Black History Month, I celebrate Women’s History Month by finding or re-discovering speeches delivered by women. Today, I kick off the month by highlighting a floor speech, Equal Rights for Women, made by Shirley Chisholm.

The fact is that a woman who aspires to be chairman of the board, or a Member of the House, does so for exactly the same reasons as any man. Basically, these are that she thinks she can do the job and she wants to try. Shirley Chisholm, “Equal Rights for Women.”

Nicknamed “Fighting Shirley,” Chisholm, who served in the House of Representatives from 1969 to 1982, was the House’s first Black woman Member of Congress, and the first Black woman to run for the President of the United States.

Also, listen as Chisholm recalls some of her early experiences with some of the good gentlemen in the House.

Courtesy of the National Visionary Leadership Project

Equally infuriating and hilarious, her stories here remind us of the importance of persistence, even in the most trying circumstances. (She also predicted that the United States will elect a woman “within the next 25 years.) It also reminds us why celebrating Women’s History Month is so important–learning from the past, to forge a brighter future.

Chisholm wanted to be remembered “…as a woman who fought for change in the 20th century.” She did.

And we remember.


  1. Pingback: Rev. Willie T. Barrow: Always Knowing Her Place–Everywhere. | Speeches & Sprints
  2. Pingback: George Takei: Fighting Prejudice–and Winning. | Speeches & Sprints

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