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Women's History Month

Women's History Month

In honor of Women’s History Month and the enormous contributions women have made to society and history, consider this history primer and suggestions for how to observe and celebrate Women’s History Month.

A Summarized History

Way back in 1981, Congress authorized and requested President Reagan to announce a Woman’s History Week and scheduled it for March 1982. He did, and the proclamation made enough of an impact so that Congress continued to pass similar resolutions observing a Women’s History Week for the next five years.

Then in March 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress upped the recognition of women’s history to a solid month, and because the additional three weeks made an even bigger social impact, Congress passed additional resolutions proclaiming March as Women’s History Month for the next six years.

To this day, March continues to serve as a month-long celebration and recognition of all that women have contributed and accomplished throughout history.

Why Was March Chosen?

There’s a myth that March got selected as Women’s History Month in honor of a 1908 labor strike. The story goes that a bunch of female garment workers in New York City went on strike one March to demand better working conditions and the right to vote.

But that didn’t actually happen, or at least it’s not the reason March was chosen.

According to Britannica.com, the official origin of Women’s History Month started in 1910 by the Second International Socialist Women’s Conference. Clara Zetkin, a German activist and one of the conference leaders, felt the needs of working women were being overlooked in favor of mainstream feminists. Seeking to mobilize the overlooked working women, in 1921 Zetkin proposed March 8 as a day to honor the women involved in a 1917 workers’ strike in Petrograd.

The idea caught on in Europe, and eventually American feminist groups started to build on that single day of women’s recognition.

How To Observe Women's History Month

For starters, just walk into any book store or library. Any librarian with common sense will have at least one display of famous female authors and historical figures by the front door.

For more detailed and national events, visit https://womenshistorymonth.gov/. This official site has a calendar listing for upcoming virtual events, including roundtable discussions and a posthumous medal ceremony for Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The site also features a ton of resources to help teachers educate students on women’s history, and the information can be viewed by anyone. Want to learn about how women nurses lived and worked during the Civil War? Or want to find out about the Women’s Suffrage Movement? This site can help.

Other ideas include learning about the history of women’s rights, getting engaged with the current issues and challenges women face around the world, reading literary works by notable women authors, and participate in any neighborhood events taking place during the month of March.


Women's History Month


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