KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Mayfield: Why centering more women’s voices matter this month and every month 

Mar 1, 2024, 4:45 AM | Updated: Mar 25, 2024, 1:41 pm

Women...

New York's City College graduation and its diverse student body. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

It’s March and Women’s History Month. You’ll likely hear about Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Sally Ride and many more incredible women in history.

But women make history every single day. This week alone, we have headlines about Coach Dora Davis of Muckleshoot Tribal School leading her high school boy’s basketball team to the state tournament. Or Audrey Jimenez, who just competed in and won Arizona’s boy’s state high school wrestling championship.

In Seattle, we have a woman who leads the city council. In the state legislature, we have a woman who is the Speaker of the House. In Washington, D.C., both our senators are women.

A few years ago, I made a choice to start reading books authored by people of color, by women and by LGBTQ+ people.

I started looking beyond the books placed in front of me culturally as a white cis man and looked for stories centered on and told by folks different than me. I didn’t give up my favorite authors or turn away from reading other books, I just looked harder for more voices.

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In the following years, I have found so many incredible stories told by incredible people. I have had my eyes opened in ways I didn’t realize possible simply by hearing new voices tell new stories. It was such a change for me that I decided to expand it and do the same in considering movie directors and TV showrunners.

We can and should celebrate all these voices, but we can go further in concrete ways that push our society to a more equitable place.

We can intentionally bring that kind of centering and listening into our everyday lives. We can stop ourselves from standing only in our usual echo chambers, hearing the same voices repeat the same thoughts.

Instead, we can look for people directly impacted by political issues. We can read and truly hear the words of those with lived experience.

What is it actually like for an unsheltered mother to live in Seattle today? How is life different when a woman of color seeks a leadership position in traditional institutions? Why is affirming care so crucial for a trans woman? We need to listen to women who have chosen to have an abortion and women who have chosen not to.  We need to hear women of devout faith, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist and agnostic.

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These women are making history today and every day, whether we see them or not. But we can better ourselves and push for a more inclusive world by helping to make more space for their stories and then genuinely working to understand what they say when they tell them.

May we all do more this Women’s History Month, not just for history but for our collective future as well.

Travis Mayfield is a guest commentator and fill-in host for KIRO Newsradio.

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Mayfield: Why centering more women’s voices matter this month and every month