March marks National Women’s History Month, a celebration of the often overlooked contributions women have made to history. The month evolved from National Women’s History Week, established in 1978 by the Education Task Force of Sonoma County, Calif., to coincide with International Women’s Day.
Women’s History Week was met with positive response, and the next year, leaders from the California group shared their project with a women’s history initiative at Sarah Lawrence College. From there, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Alaska, New York, Oregon and other states developed curriculum in all their public schools.
Within a few years, thousands of schools and communities marked National Women’s History Week. They planned engaging and stimulating programs about women’s roles in history and society, with support and encouragement from governors, city councils, school boards and the U.S. Congress.
In 1981, Congress issued a joint resolution supporting Women’s History Week. In 1987, the National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to expand the celebration to the entire month of March. Since then, the National Women’s History Month resolution has been approved every year with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.
And of course, women’s history and struggles, as well as the history and struggles of other marginalized groups, should be recognized everyday — not just once a year.