Why is March National Women's History Month?

Women's History Month Local celebration In the 1970s, Why is March National Women's History Month?visit our site read details

Mar 1, 2023 - 17:07
Nov 18, 2023 - 10:04
Why is March National Women's History Month?

Why is March National Women's History Month?

Local celebration
In the 1970s, women's history was virtually an unknown topic in the K-12 curriculum or in the consciousness of the general public. To address this situation, the Sonoma County (California) Commission's Education Task Force began celebrating "Women's History Week" in 1978.

The week of March 8, International Women's Day was chosen as the focal point for the observance. Local Women's History Week activities met with an enthusiastic response, and dozens of schools planned special programs for Women's History Week. Over a hundred community, women participate in special presentations in classrooms across the country, and an annual "Real Woman" essay contest draws hundreds of entries. The week ended with a celebratory parade and program held in downtown Santa Rosa, California.

assembling a movement
In 1979, our group member Molly Murphy McGregor was invited to participate in The Women's History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, chaired by the distinguished historian, Gerda Lerner, and attended by national leaders of organizations for women and girls. When participants learned about the success of Sonoma County's Women's History Week celebration, they decided to start similar celebrations within their own organizations, communities, and school districts. They also agreed to support efforts to secure a "National Women's History Week".

Support from the President and Congress
The first step toward success came in February 1980 when President Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980, as National Women's History Week. That same year, Representative Barbara Mikulski, who was in the House of Representatives at the time, and Senator Orrin Hatch co-sponsored a congressional resolution for National Women's History Week 1981. This co-sponsorship demonstrated broad political support for recognition. , honoring, and celebrating the achievements of American women.

A national lobbying effort
As word quickly spread across the country, state education departments encouraged National Women's History Week celebrations as an effective way to achieve equity goals in the classroom. Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Oregon, Alaska, and other states have developed and distributed curriculum materials for all their public schools. Organizations sponsor essay contests and other special programs in their local areas. Within a few years, thousands of schools and communities were celebrating National Women's History Week, supported and encouraged by proposals from governors, city councils, school boards and the US Congress.

Each year, the dates of National Women's History Week (the week of March 8th) change and each year requires a new lobbying effort. Annual, a national effort involving thousands of individuals and hundreds of educational and women's organizations, led by the National Women's History Alliance.

National Women's History Month
By 1986, 14 states had already declared March as Women's History Month. This momentum and state-by-state action were used as the rationale for lobbying Congress to declare March 1987 as National Women's History Month. In 1987, Congress permanently declared March as National Women's History Month. A special presidential proclamation is issued each year that honors the extraordinary achievements of American women.

Read More Women's History Month: 2023 celebrate

President's Message 1980
President Jimmy Carter's message to the nation designates March 2–8, 1980 as National Women's History Week.

“From the first settlers who came to our shores, to the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Often women were underrepresented and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America were just as important as the men whose names we know so well.

As Dr. Gerda Lerner points out, "Women's history is women's rights." - It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage and visionary vision."

I ask my fellow Americans to recognize this heritage with appropriate activity during National Women's History Week, March 2-8, 1980.

I urge libraries, schools and community organizations to focus their observance on leaders who fought for equality - - Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy
Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul.
Understanding the true history of our country will help us understand the need for full equality under the law for all people.

This goal can be achieved by ratifying the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that "Equality of rights under the laws shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."

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