Women’s History Month, which takes place in March, is a period of celebration for women all across the globe. What started as one day has evolved into something that holds so much significance for many women, and it was a long journey to turn into what it has become today.
On February 28, 1909, a group of women suffragists and socialists had a meeting in Manhattan. Women’s Day was originally coined as a day to commemorate this meeting. One year later, on March 8, 17 countries were present at the International Conference of Working Women.
Here, German activist Clara Zetkin proposed the idea of this being declared an international holiday. With all of the countries in agreement, March 8 was declared International Women’s Day. Many countries in Europe observed the first International Women’s Day as a result of this conference, but this celebration came to the U.S. much later.
Some years later in 1972, Title IX was passed by former President Richard Nixon. In a nutshell, Title IX is a civil rights law that is a part of the Education Amendments of 1972. It stated that sex-based discrimination was prohibited in any school or education program that received federal funding.
In 1975, the UN began sponsoring International Women’s Day. This led to the widespread celebration of the holiday across the country. With the establishment of Title IX and the UN’s support of International Women’s Day, women continued to advocate for further recognition of their achievements. In 1977, in order to help motivate schools to comply with Title IX, a task force in California created Women’s History Week. What was one day had now become a longer celebration.
Over the next couple of years, this spread into a month-long observance of women’s accomplishments. In 1980, former president Jimmy Carter officially declared the week of March 8 as Women’s History Week. One year later, it was declared a national holiday by Congress. In 1987, they officially declared March as Women’s History Month.
The 2022 theme for Women’s History Month is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” Its purpose is to honor both the efforts of caregivers and frontline workers during the pandemic and the women who have provided both healing and hope for generations.
Being able to celebrate Women’s History Month is thanks to all of the women who have fought for the opportunity to do so. This month, we honor all of their accomplishments. It is a time to uplift and celebrate each other. Happy Women’s History Month! How are you celebrating?