Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8
Women’s History Month traces its beginnings back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911. In 1978, the school district of Sonoma, California participated in Women’s History Week, an event designed around the week of March 8 (International Women’s Day).
In 1979 a fifteen-day conference about women’s history was held at Sarah Lawrence College from July 13 until July 29, chaired by historian Gerda Lerner. When its participants learned about the success of the Sonoma County’s Women’s History Week celebration, they decided to initiate similar celebrations within their own organizations, communities, and school districts.
They agreed to support an effort to secure a National Women’s History Week.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980, as National Women’s History Week.
Schools across the country also began to have their own local celebrations of Women’s History Week and even Women’s History Month. By 1986, fourteen states had declared March as Women’s History Month.
Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month.
Since 1988, U.S. presidents have issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as Women’s History Month.
The popularity of women’s history celebrations continues to spread as more people are becoming aware of the contributions of women and girls. A President’s Commission on the Celebration of Women in History in America recently sponsored hearings in many parts of the country.
The Women’s Progress Commission will soon conduct hearings to promote interest in preserving areas that are relevant in American women’s history.
Some of the groups promoting this interest are state historical societies, women’s organizations, and groups such as the Girl Scouts of the USA.