History of Women’s History Month

March marks the beginning of the month long celebration of Womens History Month, which is meant to celebrate the achievements made by women throughout history.

Photo by Rutgers University-Camden News

March marks the beginning of the month long celebration of Women’s History Month, which is meant to celebrate the achievements made by women throughout history.

Kelly Zarate, The Scroll, Co-Editor in Chief

Women’s History Month takes place in March beginning the month-long celebration. This is the  chance to acknowledge women’s contributions to history, culture and society.  

The origins of Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California in 1978. The organizers–The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women– decided on a week-long celebration that corresponded with International Women’s Day on March 8. 

The local celebration soon began to popularize around the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed that the week of March 8th would further be known as National Women’s History Week. 

Throughout the next few years, the National Women’s History Project, now known as the National Women’s History Alliance, urged Congress to pass Public Law 100-9. As of 1987, this law designated March as “Women’s History Month.” The following year, Congress passed additional resolutions which established the annual celebration of women’s achievements throughout the course of American history.

Thousands gathered at the Women’s March in Freedom Plaza, Washington D.C, in March 2020.

However, besides International Women’s History Week, March holds many significant events in women’s history such as Title IX and the Equal Rights Amendment. 

Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in all federally funded education programs, and was passed by the Senate on March 1, 1972. Towards the end of the year, it soon became a law. In fact, the educators who formed the first Women’s History Week, helped schools comply with Title IX regulations. The Equal Rights Amendment was passed by the Senate on March 22, 1972. The constitutional amendment states rights shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Clearly, March was fit to hold the month-long celebration.

Every year, the National Women’s History Alliance creates a central theme to celebrate the contributions that American women have made. This year’s theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced.” 

The theme was originally meant for March 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The theme celebrates the centennial of the women’s suffrage movement. The National Women’s History Alliance said on their website, “We are committed to recognizing the women’s suffrage centennial despite the challenges we face. While there is every reason to feel discouraged, we can embrace the behavior of the women we celebrate – and adapt and persevere!”

Even with the current state of our world, women around the nation are determined to celebrate contributions made by women that have gone on to shape American history. The National Women’s History Alliance states, “Despite the interruption of the pandemic, celebrations of women’s historic achievement in winning the 19th Amendment will not be silenced.  Suffragists, too, faced a deadly virus – and a war – while trying to win the key state of New York in 1917.  Their strength is our inspiration.”