Women's History Month: How It Started, Why We Celebrate in March and More Questions Answered
Happy Women's History Month! Every March, we celebrate the contributions of history-making women to our society. From how it began to important dates in March you should know, read on to learn more about the month-long celebration.
When is Women's History Month?
Women's History Month is a month-long celebration of women's accomplishments and contributions that is celebrated in the month of March.
Why is Women's History Month in March and how did it begin??
Women's History Month was initially just International Women's Day, a day that commemorated the Feb. 28 meeting of socialists and suffragists in Manhattan in 1909.
One year later, on March 8, 1910, according to BBC, a German activist named Clara Zetkin suggested that they recognize International Women's Day at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. With 17 countries in attendance at the conference, they all agreed.
On March 8, 1911, the first International Women's Day was celebrated in Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark, though the holiday wasn't widely celebrated in the United States until the United Nations began sponsoring it in 1975.
In 1977, in order to persuade school principals to comply with the recently passed Title IX, a task force in California created Women's History Week. They used that week to celebrate the accomplishments of women.
In March 1980, after celebrations had spread across the country, President Jimmy Carter declared that March 8 was officially the start of National Women's History Week. That same year, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and Maryland Representative Barbara Mikulski co-sponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution declaring the week of March 8, 1981, National Women's History Week.
By 1987, Congress declared the entire month of March Women's History Month. Since then, every president has declared the month of March Women's History Month.
Why do we celebrate Women's History Month?
We celebrate Women's History Month to remind ourselves of the accomplishments of women throughout the years to our culture and society. From science to politics, it's is a chance to reflect on the trailblazing women who lead the way for change.
What are some key dates during Women's History Month?
- International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8, and was established as a holiday in 1911.
- The first major march on Washington by suffragists happened on March 3, 1913.
- The National Woman's Party was formed in March 1917. The group was dedicated to getting women the right to vote.
- Title IX was passed on March 1, 1972. In fact, the first-ever Women's History Week was created in order to bolster support for Title IX, which prohibited discrimination due to sex in federally funded education programs.
- The Equal Rights Amendment was passed in the Senate on March 22, 1972.
What is this year's Women's History Month theme?
According to the National Women's History Alliance, 2022 is about "Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope." Not surprisingly, it is a direct response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"[It's] both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history," reads the National Women's History Alliance site. "This year, in particular, we are reminded of the importance of healers and caregivers who are helping to promote and sustain hope for the future."