So, here we are in March…already! March is the beginning of the end of winter, brings us longer days with daylight savings time along with St. Patty’s Day, and is the month to celebrate womens’ contributions to American history. By Presidential proclamation, March is Women’s History Month!
As Black History Month in February, Women’s History Month began as Women’s History Week. It started as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California, in 1978 when the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women organized and delivered the first “Women’s History Week” celebration. They selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International Women’s Day that ultimately set in motion a movement that spread rapidly across the country as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week celebrations the following year.
By1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians had successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February of that year, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week.
Subsequent Presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week until 1987 when Congress designated March as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, each President has issued an annual proclamation designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”
Each year, the National Women’s History Alliance selects and publishes the theme. The theme for 2021 captures the spirit of these challenging times. Since many of the women’s suffrage centennial celebrations originally scheduled for 2020 but canceled due to COVID, the National Women’s History Alliance extended that annual theme for 2021 to “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.
So, we set aside the month of March to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions women have made to our country.