“The history of all times, and of today especially, teaches that…women will be forgotten if they forget to think about themselves.” – Louise Otto
March is Women’s History Month, the only month of the year dedicated to celebrating the trailblazing women who lead the way for change and their contributions to our society. It’s an important celebration too, as many major contributions and accomplishments made by women have been largely left out of our history books and our stories. A 2021 White House “Proclamation on Women’s History” reminds us that March offers an important opportunity for us to shine a light on the legacy of those who have built, shaped, and improved our nation. “Throughout American history, women and girls have made vital contributions, often in the face of discrimination and undue hardship. Courageous women marched for and won the right to vote, campaigned against injustice, shattered countless barriers, and expanded the possibilities of American life. Our history is also replete with examples of the unfailing bravery and grit of women in America, particularly in times of crisis and emergency. Far too often, their heroic efforts and their stories have gone untold — especially the millions of Black women, immigrant women, and others from diverse communities who have strengthened America across every generation.”
The National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for Women’s History Month, and the 2022 theme ties in perfectly with the earlier proclamation – “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” The theme is “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.”
Women’s History Month Origins
March was officially designated as “Women’s History Month” in 1987 by Congress, after first being nationally recognized as “National Women’s History Week” in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter. The National Women’s History Museum reports that the observance actually began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California when the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women planned a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. “The organizers selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International Women’s Day. The movement spread across the country as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week celebrations the following year.”
International Women’s Day – Break the Bias
International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 is also important to recognize, since it’s the international predecessor to Women’s History Month. This global day celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, and marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Given the global focus, the International Women’s Day website reports significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality. “IWD is one of the most important days of the year to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about women’s equality, lobby for accelerated gender parity, and fundraise for female-focused charities.”
World Pulse is recognizing International Women’s Day with two events celebrating their global community’s leadership. On 3 March, they’ll celebrate the top 50 rising voices on World Pulse — including the winners of the World Pulse Spirit Awards — and on 10 March, they’re inviting women to join them as they gather together for a Digital Ambassador-led global training event to strengthen women’s voices and leadership.
“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” – Maya Angelou
The theme for International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. Knowing that bias exists isn’t enough. Action is needed to level the playing field. For resources, videos, or to get involved go to www.internationalwomensday.com, and to talk to or collaborate with women from around the world go to www.worldpulse.com.
National Women’s History Museum
Women’s History Month is the perfect time to tap into resources, share the stories of trailblazing women, and examine historical topics from a woman’s perspective. And the National Women’s History Museum is the perfect place for resources. As the largest online cultural institution dedicated to US women’s history, it operates with the mission to tell the stories of women who have transformed our nation, with public programs and events, educational resources, virtual exhibits, a study collection, library, and more just a click away.
As the Museum states, “Women’s contributions and accomplishments have largely been overlooked and consequently omitted from mainstream culture.” They are working to fill that void, as are many educators, writers, historians, and others who also believe inclusive history is good history in Women’s History Month and beyond, and Women Connect4Good is excited to support them in their work.
Whether learning more about women’s history, reading books by women dedicated to achieving equality (In This Together by Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, Intentioning by Gloria Feldt, Equality by Trudy Bourgeois, Lead by Example by Dr. Sheila Robinson), watching films and documentaries that highlight women’s stories (Hidden Figures, RBG, Knock Down the House), supporting a women’s nonprofit (like Women Connect4Good, Take The Lead, the National Women’s History Museum, World Pulse) participating in events (like Convoy Women’s International Women’s Day Experience), listening to podcasts, getting to know women in politics, or supporting female entrepreneurs. The celebration doesn’t stop April 1. We need to honor the women who came before us, and support the women and girls of today all year long.