Celebrate Women’s History Month
March 11, 2010
March is Womenand#8217;s History Month. Women are an integral part of society and the shaping of history as a whole. Womenand#8217;s History Month is a time when we recognize the important contributions women have made. Knowing some of the facts and ideas surrounding Womenand#8217;s History Month may increase peopleand#8217;s appreciation.
The idea of designating a time to honor the contributions of women began in Europe in 1911. At the time, Europeans celebrated March 8 as International Womenand#8217;s Day to recognize the plight of women who were trying to gain equal rights. Womenand#8217;s rights were a major issue throughout the region and a priority for many activist groups and individuals who felt women should be allowed to vote and receive the same privileges as men. To accomplish this goal, these activists focused their efforts on showing people the contributions that women made to society over the years; they did this by writing books about these contributions.
This battle went on for many years in Europe, and International Womenand#8217;s Day was not widely recognized in society.
With the economic depression of the 1930s, which hit Europe as well as the U.S., followed by World War II, womenand#8217;s rights went out of fashion. In the 1950s and 1960s, after Betty Friedan referred to the and#8220;problem that has no nameand#8221; and#8212; the boredom and isolation of the middle-class housewife who often gave up intellectual and professional aspirations and#8212; the womenand#8217;s movement began to revive and interest in womenand#8217;s issues and history blossomed.
By the 1970s, there was a growing sense by many women that and#8220;historyand#8221; as taught in school, was incomplete without the presence of womenand#8217;s history. In the United States, calls for inclusion of black Americans and American Indians helped women realize they were invisible in most history courses.
The celebration of womenand#8217;s history in the U.S. began officially in 1978 when the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women initiated and#8220;Womenand#8217;s History Weekand#8221; in its community.
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In 1981, U.S. Representative Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) co-sponsored a Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming the week of March 8 National Womenand#8217;s History Week. In 1987, the National Womenand#8217;s History Project (founded in 1979 by Molly McGregor) helped expand the celebration to the entire month of March. In 1987 and following years, the National Womenand#8217;s History Month Resolutions have been approved with bipartisan support in both the senate and house, and signed by the president.
Today, schools and communities celebrate the month with special curriculum and events surrounding the many and great accomplishments that women have achieved.
Someday, when womenand#8217;s accomplishments take their place as an integral part of society and are included in the everyday curriculum alongside the accomplishments of men, Womenand#8217;s History Month will serve as a time to look back and reflect on the road to equality.
To honor this special month, I encourage you to explore Womenand#8217;s History and learn more with related articles emerging throughout the month of March.
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