Celebrated in March to coincide with International Women’s Day on the 6th, Women’s History Month highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. This year’s national theme is “Nevertheless She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women” and here on the blog, similarly to how we celebrated Black History Month, we’ll be honoring speakers, screenwriters, authors, poets, teachers, and activists.
The first International Women’s Day was in 1911. It wasn’t until 1978 that the Sonoma County, California school district organized a week-long celebration of women’s history. They were in the process of revising school curriculum to address what they saw as an imbalance, the omission of the contributions of women in America. In the summer of 1979, a fifteen-day conference about women’s history was held at Sarah Lawrence College, co-sponsored by the college, the Women’s Action Alliance, and the Smithsonian Institution. When these groups learned of the success of the celebration in California, they agreed to initiate similar celebrations within their own organizations, communities, and school districts, and to support an effort to secure a National Women’s History Week.
In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980, National Women’s History Week, saying that “the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.”
By 1986, fourteen states had declared March as Women’s History Month. In 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Public Law 100-9 designating the month of March as Women’s History Month. Since 1988, U.S. presidents have issued annual proclamations saying the same. Every year has its own theme, declared by the National Women’s History Project, things like “Generations of Courage, Compassion, and Conviction,” “Women Sustaining the American Spirit,” and “Writing Women Back into History.”
We invite you to join us this month as we remember, honor, and celebrate the contributions of women who “demonstrate the power of voice, of persistent action, and of believing that meaningful and lasting change is possible in our democratic society,” (National Women’s History Project).