Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month

Terry Holman, Student Life Editor

Women’s History Month is celebrated every March in the United States since 1987. Have you ever stopped to wonder how it came to be? Look no further as you will soon learn this history of Women’s History Month.

Believe it or not, it first started as a mere week. Women and feminists would get together and rally, supporting women’s rights and their right to vote. They protested working conditions and fought for equality. Presentations of famous women were given in schools. Many students also wrote essays for the “Real Woman” essay contest. Women were presented with gifts as well. In Santa Rosa, California, every year a parade was held to celebrate the week. 

In the February of 1980, President Jimmy Carter decided to declare the week of March 8th, “National Women’s History Week.” He proclaimed “achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America were as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.” Later on, Congress thought that women deserved more time for recognition and celebration than a week so in 1987, they designated March as “Women’s History Month.” 

Congress didn’t stop at this. Between 1988 and 1994, they passed additional resolutions. These requested, as well as authorized, the current President to announce March as the historical month we know and celebrate today. Since then, every president follows the annual tradition of designating the month to the women of the United States and the world.

International Women’s Day

Taking a step back, Women’s History Month is an American holiday. However, the celebration is not only in this one country. Over 100 countries celebrate International Women’s Day. It is important to note that this was proclaimed even before Women’s History Week. Sponsored by the United Nations, this became a global thing in 1975. But why did they do this? There’s a clear answer to that. Quoted, “To recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women; and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.”

There was a lot of support from the Socialist Party in America. They voted for the day to be on a Sunday so that working women could still celebrate. There were various events to push for suffrage and social causes despite the fact that their goal was often at odds. Thousands of people showed up to these. Eventually, this caught on in Europe. On March 19th, 1911, the first international day was held. It drew more than 1 million people to rally for women around the globe. 

Leonora O’Reilly was a labor leader. She and many others spoke to the growing crown during the main meeting in the Murrary Hill Lyceum. Charlotte Perkins Gilman exclaimed, “It is true that a women’s duty is centered in her home and motherhood…[but] home should mean the whole country, and not be confined to three or four rooms or a city or a state.” More and more people were believing that women should have a large role in society that is not just taking care of the house and children. 

When WWI broke out in 1914, many different social holidays and social reform efforts stopped as the focus was on the war. This didn’t stop women from marching for and celebrating their day. They believed that more than ever, they needed recognition for everything they were doing to aid end the war. They took over men’s jobs at factories making weapons so they were able to fight. They grew the food and made the clothes that kept the soldiers alive. 

Corporations such as PepsiCo and others have been supporting this holiday, making it even more ingrained in American history than before. Even more, supporters are trying to reclaim the day to fight for recognition and women’s rights, improving their lives to make them equal to men. 


Every year, there is a new theme. These themes bring more attractiveness to the celebrations and promote new things for women to be proud of and work towards. Every year, a group of women is selected to be represented. Going back to 2014, here’s a list of themes:

~2014: Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment

~2015: Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives

~2016: Working to Form a More Perfect Union – Honoring Women in Public Service and Government

~2017: Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business

~2018: Nevertheless, She Persisted – Honoring Women who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

~2019: Visionary Women – Champions of Peace and Non-violence

~2020: Valiant Women of the Vote

~2021: Valiant Women of the Vote – Refusing to be Silenced

~2022: Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope

More and more women are honored each year. Inspiration radiates off of these women onto all generations, promoting and creating change within America and the world, creating better lives for everyone.