Since 1987, the month of March has been assigned to specifically celebrate women and their history. (Photo Credit: Achievement First)
In the past, the topic of women’s history was essentially unknown and uncelebrated in the minds of the public. To address this issue, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission initiated women’s history week in 1978 to celebrate women. The local activities for the week were met with excited responses from the community, with dozens of schools planning a special curriculum for the week and hundreds of women participating in special presentations. The week concluded with massive pomp and circumstance in the form of a celebratory parade.
The movement started to gain more traction when in 1979, Molly Murphy MacGregor, a member of the women’s history week celebrations, was invited to participate in The Women’s History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, which was attended by national leaders of organizations and charities for women. After the other participants learned about the success of Sonoma County’s celebration, they decided to implement similar celebrations within their own charities and organizations. Most importantly, they agreed to support an effort to take this initiative to the national stage.
In February 1980, President Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation, declaring the week of March 8th, 1980, as National Women’s History Week.
Photo Credit: Barry Thumma [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
By 1986, 14 states had already approved of March as Women’s History Month. The momentum generated by these individual states was used as the rationale to lobby Congress to make the month of March dedicated to women’s history.
The creation of Women’s History Month has been a long and arduous process. However, the hard work and persistence ultimately paid off and is now recognized on a national level. After learning about the tedious process, I hope that we can all walk away with a newfound appreciation for Women’s History Month!