Women’s History Month

Kaya Squirewell

March 1st is the beginning of the annual celebration of Women’s History Month. This month is dedicated to honor women’s contributions in American history. Several women over the centuries have made inspiring impacts on society overtime that has led to women having the same rights and equal opportunities as men.

The development of Women’s History Month began at a school in a small town located in Sonoma, California.  It was first organized by the schools district in 1978. The celebration in the United States started out as a week-long acknowledgement, then later grew into a month long celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history and society. The school began giving presentations, having writing essay contests about women’s history, and even held a parade in downtown Santa Rosa.

A few years later, this idea encouraged others and began to spread within communities, school districts and organizations across the country. International Women’s Day took place for the first time on March 8, 1911. President Jimmy Carter enforced the first presidential proclamation, saying the week of March 8 would be National Women’s History Week. The following year, the U.S. Congress then passed and established a national celebration in 1980. Six years later, the National Women’s History Project was able to convince the Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March.

The United Nations has long stated 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” is an important recognition to have as women have contributed as much, if not more, to society as men. There were many role models that impacted history. For example, Susan B. Anthony was a women’s rights activist and founded the National Woman’s Suffrage Association in 1869. There are plenty of other women that have made a difference in women’s history such as Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Helen Keller.

The month of March celebrates the inner strength, courage, and pride of women. It gives acknowledgements to the women who have led us, but are not recognized for their efforts and contributions to our history.