Following Black History Month in February, March ushers in Women's History Month. Each year this month is dedicated to honoring the contributions made by remarkable women in history, the heights they've scaled, the barriers they've broken down, and the impact they've left on society.
In the 1970s, frustrations over women's absence from America's national narrative reached an all-time high, prompting Women's History Month to flourish. The month celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of women in a range of disciplines, including politics, artists, educators, and pioneers all around. On this important month, across the world, every country makes an effort to encourage the social progress of women to make a mark in history.
How it Began
Women's History Month began as International Women's Day on February 28, 1909, to honor a gathering of socialists and suffragists in Manhattan. By March 8, 1911, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Denmark commemorated the first International Women's Day. International Women's Day was not generally observed in the United States until 1975 when the United Nations sponsored it.
Women's History Week was observed in March 1977 by educators in California, to raise awareness of women's contributions to society. The organizers chose a week in early March to coincide with International Women's Day. When Congress passed a resolution establishing March as Women's History Month in 1987, the week-long celebration became a month-long.
Since then, March has been designated as Women's History Month in the United States. Other communities across the country joined California in celebrating Women's History Week during the next few years.
Notable Females First
Countless prominent women have made contributions throughout history, earned their place in Women's History Month figures. These women have made historic achievements that have paved the way for women today.
Sacagawea, a Native American woman who assisted Lewis and Clark's journey to chart sections of the West in the early 1800s, is one extraordinary woman commonly highlighted during Women's History Month.
More than 70 years before the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote in the United States in 1920, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony pushed for women's equality in the mid-nineteenth century.
Harriet Tubman is most remembered for her work on the Underground Railroad, as a spy, she was also instrumental in liberating Southern slaves during the Civil War.
Amelia Earhart was one of the first female pilots in the world, flying a one-person helicopter across the United States. She was the first woman to fly nonstop across the United States in 1933.
Madeleine Albright, the first female Secretary of State, was a politician and diplomat from the United States. She was the 64th Secretary of State of the United States, serving under President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001.
Challenges in History
Women were not as well-represented in history books as men. Without women throughout the 1970s and 1980s advocating for themselves and the awareness of women's issues, Women's History Month would not exist. Historians have largely ignored their letters, diaries, and their contributions and societal significance.
What the Future Holds
While appearing to have virtually equal representation on television in male-dominated positions such as renowned medical examiners, lawyers, or police officers, women have yet to achieve equity with males in terms of occupation or salary in reality. To date, women still earn less than men on an average salary and face workplace discrimination. Not to mention we still pay the pink tax on feminine products. A gender-equal world that’s diverse and free from bias is one step away each year.
Ways to Celebrate
It’s important to educate ourselves and do more to progress the efforts of historical women. Each year there are plenty of ways you can encourage women in your life including supporting a women-owned business, sharing and reading about women’s history and important figures, donating to women charities, read books from women authors on important topics.
There’s still plenty of efforts to make to overcome obstacles based on gender. Collectively we can all raise awareness and bring equality to future generations.