Women’s History Month

A History of Women’s History Month

March marks Women’s History Month, an annual observance dedicated to celebrating and acknowledging the contributions, struggles, and achievements of women throughout history in the United States and abroad.

The initial roots of the month can be traced back to the women’s rights movement of the 1960s and was initially established as Women’s History Week in the late 1970s through efforts of the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission in California. The first week-long celebration in 1978 was organized to coincide with International Women’s Day which takes place annually every March 8.

The week was recognized through a presidential proclamation by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 and the following year the United States Congress passed a resolution to designate the week of March 8th as the official celebration time.

Through various initiatives and organizations throughout the decade lobbying for the expansion of acknowledgment from a week to a month, Congress passed an official resolution in March 1987 to make this change and it was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan shortly after.

Globally, Women’s History Month has also evolved with a focus on international gender equality and equity. Among the factors that have contributed to the growth and impact of Women’s History Month worldwide, these include:

Global Recognition
Over the past several decades Women’s History Month has transcended its origins in the United States and gained international recognition. Countries around the world now participate in commemorating and celebrating the achievements of women, creating a global conversation on gender equality.

Inclusion of Diverse Voices
Over time, there has been a greater emphasis on intersectionality within the women’s rights movement. Acknowledging and addressing the diverse experiences of women based on factors such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status has become integral to the discussions during this month.

Social Media and Digital Activism
The rise of social media has played a significant role in amplifying the voices of women and highlighting women’s issues. The hashtag #WomensHistoryMonth and other social media campaigns have provided a platform for individuals and organizations to share stories, accomplishments, and initiatives related to women’s history.

Corporate and Nonprofit Campaigns
Many corporations now actively participate in Women’s History Month by launching campaigns, hosting events, and implementing policies that promote gender equality in the workplace. This involvement helps raise awareness and encourages corporate responsibility in addressing gender disparities.

During Women’s History Month, reflecting on the accomplishments of successful women locally and internationally gives everyone the chance to reflect, engage, and further explore ways they can champion women breaking barriers and inspiring others within their own lives.