Every year, March is designated Women’s History Month by presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions to American history. This resource guide is designed and created to provide resources and information to celebrate the contributions and amazing accomplishments of strong, determined women during Women's History Month. This guide is a work in progress and we will be happy to get your valuable feedback for this guide.
Did You Know? Women’s History Month started as Women’s History Week . . .
March is Women's History Month! Women's History Month is designated each year in March by presidential proclamation and is set aside to honor women's contributions to American history. Women's History Month originally began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California in 1978. In 1978, The Educational Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a "Women's History Week." The task force chose the week of March 8th for their celebration because it corresponded with International Women's Day. In Santa Rosa, the week was celebrated by holding essay contests, having women from the community present special presentations in classrooms, and ending with a parade in downtown Santa Rosa.
The following year, Women's History Week spread as other communities and people learned about the popularity of the celebration in Santa Rosa. In 1979, Molly Murphy MacGregor, a member of the National Women's History Alliance, participated in The Women's History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. At the event, MacGregor and historian Gerda Lerner learned about the success of Sonoma County's Women's History Week and decided to initiate similar efforts within their own organizations. MacGregor and Lerner also resolved to support efforts to secure a "National Women's History Week."
In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women's History Week. Also in February 1980, Representative Barbara Mikulski and Senarot Orrin Hatch co-sponsored a Congressional Resolution for National Women's History Week in 1981. This resolution gained widespread support for its goal of recognizing, honoring, and celebrating the achievements of American women.
As the week continued to grow in popularity, various state departments of education encouraged celebrations of National Women's History Week in the classroom as a means to support equity goals within the classroom. States that supported National Women's History Week created and distributed curriculum and organizations sponsored essay contests and special events.
By 1986, 14 states had declared March Women's History Month. This enthusiastic response from states helped to convince Congress to declare the entire month of March 1987 as National Women's History Month. In 1987 Congress declared the entire month of March as National Women's History Month in perpetuity. Each year, there is a special presidential proclamation honoring the achievements of American women.
* Source: https://www.womenshistory.org/womens-history/womens-history-month
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