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Women's History Month

 Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories

Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987. Women’s History Month 2023 will take place from Wednesday, March 1 - Friday, March 31, 2023. 

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Background

Women’s History Month is a dedicated month to reflect on the often-overlooked contributions of women to United States history. From Abigail Adams to Susan B. AnthonySojourner Truth to Rosa Parks, the timeline of women’s history milestones stretches back to the founding of the United States.

The actual celebration of Women’s History Month grew out of a weeklong celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history and society organized by the school district of Sonoma, California, in 1978. Presentations were given at dozens of schools, hundreds of students participated in a “Real Woman” essay contest and a parade was held in downtown Santa Rosa.

A few years later, the idea caught on within communities, school districts and organizations across the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. The U.S. Congress followed suit the next year, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration. Six years later, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March.

Women's History Month Facts

In 1987, Women's History Month began.

Women's organizations, including the National Women's History Alliance, campaigned yearly to recognize Women's History Week. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 Women's History Week across the country. By 1986, 14 states had declared the entire month of March Women's History Month, according to the Alliance. The following year, in March of 1987, activists were successful: They lobbied Congress to declare March Women's History Month.

The president declares every March Women's History Month.

Since 1995, every president has issued a proclamation declaring March Women's History Month, usually with a statement about its importance.

Every Women's History Month has a theme.

The 2023 Women's History Month theme is Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories. This year, the National Women's History Alliance "will encourage the recognition of women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, news, and social media."

Wyoming Territory was the first place to grant women the right to vote.

Never take it for granted that you can vote, ladies. The Wyoming Territorial legislature gave every woman the right to vote in 1869, according to History.com. They elected the country's first female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross, in 1924.

 It wasn't until 1965 that all women could legally vote.

Even after 1924, Native women and other women of color were prevented from voting by state laws such as poll taxes and literacy tests. It wasn't until 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, that discriminatory tactics such as literacy tests were outlawed, and all women could vote.

Women make up 27 percent of Congress.

One-hundred and forty-five women serve in the United States Congress out of 535 total members. Though the number of women representatives continues to rise, it's important to keep in mind that the United States population is 50.8 percent female, according to Census data.

More women are earning college degrees than men.

Women are outnumbering men in earning postsecondary degrees. According to 2021 data from the Education Data Initiative, 59% of women continued their education after high school, compared to 50% of men.

Women make up 14 percent of active duty military members.

Women also make up 23% of officers in the Coast Guard. In January 2013, the U.S. government lifted its ban on women serving in combat positions.

Women now outnumber men in the college-educated labor force.

In 2022, women accounted for more than half of the college-educated labor force in the United States. Comprised of 50.7% women, they overtook men in the last year, according to Pew Research Center.

Kamala Harris is the first woman and woman of color Vice President.

After winning the 2020 presidential election with Joe Biden, Kamala Harris is making history as the first woman, first Black woman, and first Asian American vice president in U.S. history.

Famous Women in History
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