Just like women’s right to vote is a relatively recent change in our country’s history, celebrating the centennial last year, so is the celebration of Women’s History Month. Its beginning is humble, but it gained momentum almost instantly.
It all began with a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California with a Women’s History Week in 1978. The date for it was chosen to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8th. Once other communities caught wind of this celebration the movement spread and Women’s History Weeks began to be initiated throughout the county in the following year. By 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians (led by the National Women’s History Project, now the National Women’s History Alliance) began lobbying for national recognition of the week.
In February of that year, President Jimmy Carter was the first of many presidents who issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8th to be National Women’s History Week. It was not until 1987 that Congress passed the Public Law 100-9 that designated all of March as Women’s History Month. Every president, since 1995, has issued an annual proclamation designating March as such.
Every year the National Women’s History Alliance publishes a yearly theme, and since many centennial celebrations were curtailed last year due to the pandemic, the year’s theme has remained the same: “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced.”
If you would like to learn more about Women’s History and their fight for the vote here are some resources:
Outside Website Resources:
– National Women’s History Museum
– Women’s History Month
– The White House: A Proclamation on Women’s History Month, 2021
– National Women’s History Alliance
– PBS: What to Watch: Women’s History Month
– C|Net: Women’s History Month 2021: Movies and TV shows to uplift & inspire