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Women’s History Month Facts: Everything You Need to Know About the Month-Long Celebration

Women’s History Month is celebrated yearly in March in the United States and several countries worldwide. The celebration is all about remembering inventors, politicians, suffragists, artists, and other women who blazed the trail for women today. Women’s History Month is also about discussing issues affecting women today. This article takes us back to the beginning of the celebration and why it became official.

It all started in New York

Women’s History Month wasn’t always a month-long celebration; it used to be called National Women’s Day and was celebrated for just a day. The first National Women’s Day happened on the 28th of February, 1909.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

An activist who served on the women’s committee of the Socialist Party of America, Theresa established National Women’s Day. In Manhattan, over 2000 women joined her at a theater for the event marked by equal rights speeches and singing.

Then, the celebration gained momentum in California

There was a limit to how many activities could be held on National Women’s Day since it was just a day. This raised the need to organize a longer period to accommodate more educational and entertaining activities. 

Courtesy: The Press Democrat

To correct the lack of women-focus in the current K-12 curriculum, the Sonoma school district held a Women’s History Week in 1978 to celebrate women. The Women’s History Week was held in March and included a parade, essay contest, and talks.

President Jimmy Carter was the first president to recognize the celebration nationally

President Jimmy Carter declared that Women’s History Week would be recognized during the week of March 8. He believed that the stories of American women were as valuable as those of the men whose names we know so well. Well, he laid a great foundation.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

By 1986, about one-third of the states in America extended the recognition to a full month. The federal government officially made Women’s History Month a permanent event to be commemorated every March in 1987.

Why is it celebrated in March?

While it’s true that Women’s History Month is celebrated in March to correspond with International Women’s Day, that wasn’t the only reason behind the timing. Before March was chosen, Maryland congresswoman Barbara Mikulski suggested August.

Courtesy: National Women’s History Museum

Although August would have corresponded with the anniversary of American women’s suffrage, the late summer heat wouldn’t be suitable for marching. Former legislative aide Susan Scanlan suggested March since it would be a perfect period for outdoor activities.

Celebrating Women’s History Month today

March is a period to reflect on those women’s contributions that have been overlooked in the past. The National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, National Park Service, National Archives, and other institutions at the federal level lead celebrations. 

Courtesy: LinkedIn

There are also different exhibitions and activities under yearly themes to celebrate the event. Countries like Australia and the UK also celebrate in March, while others celebrate it in different months. Canada’s Women’s History Month is celebrated in October.

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