Special Segment

Special Segment: Shining the Purple Light on Women’s History Month – The Color Purple Series

“Women’s History Month” is a time to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of women throughout history. “The Color Purple,” both a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and a film adaptation directed by Steven Spielberg, powerfully portrays the challenges faced by African American women in the early 20th century.

Set in the early 1900s, “The Color Purple” vividly depicts the pervasive gender inequality and systemic oppression experienced by women, particularly women of color, during this time. The protagonist, Celie, endures various forms of abuse and exploitation, including domestic violence, sexual assault, and forced separation from her children. These injustices highlight the intersectional struggles faced by black women, who often bore the brunt of racism and sexism simultaneously.

The color purple beaming in nature; Photo Credit: Pexel

Throughout the narrative, Celie and other female characters find strength and resilience through their bonds with one another. They form a supportive community that empowers them to resist oppression and reclaim their dignity and autonomy. “The Color Purple” underscores the importance of solidarity among women and the power of collective action in challenging societal norms and advocating for change.

The movie depicts a fictional example of the many struggles women faced in the early centuries, from not having the right to vote to not being able to own property. The struggle for women’s rights has deep roots in history, with brave individuals and movements fighting for equality. From the suffragettes who campaigned for women’s voting rights to the activists who fought for reproductive rights and gender equality, women have continuously pushed against societal norms and barriers.

The Color Purple, 1985 Version; Photo Credit: Warner Brothers Studios

Women also faced discrimination in the workplace, limiting their opportunities for advancement and equal pay. They were often relegated to lower-paying jobs and excluded from certain professions. Furthermore, societal expectations generally expected women to stay at home and carry out domestic duties.

Despite these challenges, women have made significant strides over time. Women are now executives of companies, witness the first black female billionaire (Sheila Johnson, Co-Founder of BET), homeowners, account for nearly 40% of small business ownership (according to Forbes), and have the first female Vice President (Kamala Harris). According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up 57.4% of the workforce as of July 2023.

Through resilience, perseverance, and solidarity, they have shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for future generations.

Women’s History Month celebrates women’s contributions throughout history and recognizes their power and resilience despite facing numerous challenges.

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