March serves as Women’s History Month across the United States as a way to honor and celebrate the powerful achievements women have had in creating the world we have today.
But how did March become the month we celebrate women?
Starting in 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as Women’s History Week. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women in California sought to resolve the issue that women’s history was virtually unknown in K-12 schools across the country.
The commission established a Women’s History Week celebration in 1978.
Dozens of schools planned special programming to mark the occasion. Hundreds of women put on presentations in classrooms throughout the country and the annual “Real Woman” essay contest took in hundreds of applications. A celebratory parade and program in downtown Santa Rosa, California served as the finale of the week.
This effort spread to schools and organizations throughout the nation. In the classroom, the celebration served as a way to achieve equality.
Within a few years, thousands of resolutions from every state and the national government were dedicating the week of March 8 as Women’s History Week. In 1987, Congress declared March Women’s History Month in perpetuity. The theme for 2019 is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence.” Women who have pushed to end wars, violence, or otherwise used nonviolence to change society will be remembered.
For more information and resources pertaining to Women’s History Month, visit the National Women’s History Alliance website, www.nationalwomenshistoryalliance.org. You can even schedule a performer for your school or organization’s celebration.