Wednesday, March 11, 2009
March is Women's History Month
"Get to Know the Women Who’ve Changed Our World."
History of National Women's History Month
As recently as the 1970's, women's history was virtually an unknown topic in the K-12 curriculum or in general public consciousness. To address this situation, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women initiated a "Women's History Week" celebration for 1978. We chose the week of March 8 to make International Women's Day the focal point of the observance. The activities that were held met with enthusiastic response, and within a few years dozens of schools planned special programs for Women's History Week, over one-hundred community women participated in the Community Resource Women Project, an annual "Real Woman" Essay Contest drew hundreds of entries, and we were staging a marvelous annual parade and program in downtown Santa Rosa, California.
The Entire Month of March
In 1987, the National Women's History Project petitioned Congress to expand the national celebration to the entire month of March. Since then, the National Women's History Month Resolution has been approved with bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. Each year, programs and activities in schools, workplaces, and communities have become more extensive as information and program ideas have been developed and shared.
Growing Interest in Women's History
The popularity of women's history celebrations has sparked a new interest in uncovering women's forgotten heritage. A President's Commission on the Celebration of Women in History in America recently sponsored hearings in many sections of the country. It took reports about effective activities and institutions that are promoting women's history awareness and heard recommendations for programs still needed. The Women's Progress Commission will soon begin hearings to ascertain appropriate methods for identifying and then preserving sites of importance to American women's history. In many areas, state historical societies, women's organizations, and groups such as the Girl Scout of the USA have worked together to develop joint programs. Under the guidance of the National Women's History Project, educators, workplace program planners, parents and community organizations in thousands of American communities have turned National Women's History Month into a major focal celebration, and a springboard for celebrating women's history all year 'round.