Happy International Women’s Day!

Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women and is a day of action in support of taking action against gender inequality around the world. It’s rooted in the suffrage rights movements of the late 1800s/early 1900’s. The first National Women’s day was observed in 1909.

New Jersey is the birthplace of noted suffragist Alice Paul. The New Jersey Women’s Heritage Trail sprang from the Alice Paul Centennial Foundation in the late 1990s. Today the trail highlights 94 sites associated with women’s achievements in the Garden State.

I first noticed signs for the Women’s Heritage Trail when visiting The Hermitage in Ho-Ho-Kus, Bergen County’s first National Historical Landmark. The original dwelling was built in the 1700s.  During the Revolutionary War, Theodosia Prevost was left to tend the property while her husband was off fighting. She opened the home to soldiers as a rest station, extending a personal invitation to General Washington and his troops. Because of the example Theodosia set as an independent woman, she is on the Heritage Trail.

I’ve also seen the trail signed in Fort Hancock by the women’s barracks. The Women’s Army Corp was created during WWII. Women filled service roles in the States in order to free the men for combat duty. Nearby is another stop on the trail, recognizing Sarah Johnson for her work as Assistant Lighthouse Keeper to Sandy Hook Light in the late 1800s