The History of Women’s History Month


Courtesy of : Lenfest Institute

Shannon Raneri, Writer

“Each time a woman stands up for herself she stands up for all women.” – Maya Angelou 

Women’s History Month is officially here, a time to celebrate and appreciate women worldwide that have changed history, from art and literature to music and engineering.  Women have influenced our society for many generations.  But the big question is, how did we begin to celebrate Women’s History Month?

Now celebrated annually in March, the celebration of women’s history started, believe it or not, in February!  February 28th, 1909 was a garment strike that happened in New York that would become one of the most famous women workers’ strikes in American history.  This strike was known as the “Uprising of the 20,000” or the “New York Shirtwaist Strike of 1910.”  In March of 1910, women from around the world pushed for International Women’s Day, making March 8th, International Women’s Day, as it still stands today.  

Decades later, in 1980, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed that the week of March 8th would be the official date for Women’s History Week when a group of women called “The National Women’s Project” (now “National Women’s History Alliance”) protested that women should be recognized.  So for the next seven years, the country would celebrate the women of past and present for what they’ve done in our country.  Then, in 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-9, which recognized that March would be Women’s History Month.

I had the chance to talk to one of our very own history teachers, Ms. McKinnon.  When I asked her why it is important to celebrate Women’s History Month, she responded saying, “Women’s History Month should be celebrated because, throughout history, women have been a group that are often discriminated against and forgot about even today.”  She later adds, “It is important to celebrate the important accomplishments of women all throughout history even if they were not important at the time.” 

Nonetheless, women have been pushing for equal rights for a very long time and it is important that their voices have been heard and continue to be heard today.  Now, we celebrate women and their impact on society every month, but we show pride in March.

Happy Women’s History Month!