By the President of the United States of America
When author Zora Neale Hurston was growing up in Eatonville, Florida, at the beginning of the century, her mother encouraged her to "jump at the sun"—to set lofty goals—even if she were not certain to reach them. In many ways, Zora did "jump at the sun," writing books, articles, and plays that have earned her a place among America's finest writers and anthropologists. Her mother's words became a powerful metaphor for her life, and Zora's brilliant works reflect the vibrant history of the many women whose lives she studied.
Zora Neale Hurston might never have imagined that women would one day have the opportunity to take her mother's teaching literally. But from Sally Ride to Mae Jemison to Kathryn Sullivan, astronauts have soared closer to the sun than most humans ever dreamed. As we celebrate Women's History Month, 1994, Americans take special pride in the scope of women's achievements, exemplified by the daring spirit of these pioneering individuals. We watched in awe recently as astronaut Sullivan performed complex repairs on the Hubble space telescope by the light of the rising sun. And we shared her happiness as she basked in the love of her family at the end of a successful mission. From author to astronaut to able parent, women have embraced a myriad of challenging roles throughout our Nation's history.
But America has not yet fulfilled its promise of equality for all people. While more women than ever now hold public office in our country, more women than ever must also bear sole responsibility for caring for their families. We rely on women's knowledge and expertise in every aspect of life, and yet we as a society fail to provide many of our families the care and support they so desperately need. We take satisfaction in knowing that women have gained equality under the law, but we must also recognize the ways in which true equality is still only a dream. Zora's "sun" eludes our grasp. This month, we rededicate ourselves to reaching it.
On this occasion, we celebrate the lives of women too long missing from our history books. We listen to the voices of women too long absent from our national memory. Most important, we look forward to a day when society need not remind itself to note the extraordinary accomplishments of women. We dream of a time when, in passing the lessons of this generation from teacher to student, from parent to child, we tell a story of women and men working side by side. We will say that it took all people, striving together, to build a just and compassionate world of liberty, charity, and peace.
The Congress, by Public Law 103–22, has designated March 1994 as "Women's History Month" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this occasion.
Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 1994 as Women's History Month. I invite all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities, and to remember throughout the year the rich and varied contributions that women make to our world.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON