Celebrating the Past, Planning the Future: Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month is celebrated annually in March to recognize and celebrate the contributions that women have made in history. In our current society (especially in the United States), many women are blessed with more equal opportunities than ever before, but we can’t stop at “good enough.” Through celebrating the past with Women’s History Month and planning for the future with campaigns from International Women’s Day, March is all about honoring our girl power.

The National Women’s History Project was founded in 1980 to honor women’s historical achievements. The NWHP lobbied Congress to coin March as Women’s History Month. Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 as National Women’s History week in 1980. After a more successful push from the NWHP, Congress declared March as Women’s History Month in 1987. The NWHP transitioned into the National Women’s History Alliance in 2018. The National Women’s History Alliance selects and publishes the yearly theme for March. The theme for 2019 is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence.” This theme celebrates women’s efforts to end war, violence and injustice. The living honorees for 2019’s Women’s History Month are Kathy Kelly, Zainab Salbi, Graciela Sanchez, Deborah Tucker, Dr. E. Faye Williams and Sister Alice Zachmann. Each of these women has advocated for peace and equality around the world.

International Women’s Day is on March 8 each year. The purpose of this day is to push for gender equality all around the world. The first IWD gathering was in 1911 in Europe and was supported by over 1 million people. This event occurred even before the suffragettes were a movement! The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 was “#BalanceForBetter.”

 

“From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence," according to the IWD website. The #BalanceForBetter campaign runs year-long. In 1996, the United Nations declared the first theme of IWD as “Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future.” This motto fully embodies the annual celebration and collaboration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day.

There are many ways to participate in both WHM and IWD. The official IWD website encourages for the use of social media to promote their message (don’t forget the hashtag: #BalanceForBetter). Social media helps spread information and awareness. You can wear purple all month long, which is the international symbol of women. Purple signifies justice and dignity. You can attend or even host your own IWD event– there are several occurring across the world!

Together, we can make a change by rallying together in a shared cause. Don’t forget- there are millions of others supporting you around the world!