Celebrating Women's History Month in March

Women's Suffrage in Washington, D.C. 1916-1918Photo courtesy of https://womenshistorymonth.gov/images/

In the span of a year, there are so many National-Whatever-Day designations it’s impossible to keep track of them all. That was doubly true in a year like the last one, during which everything routine or normal took a distant backseat to the pandemic. 

This year, we all hope, will be better. And March’s special designation - Women’s History Month - is as good a place to start as any. 

Why do we set aside a month for women’s history? There are people who roll their eyes - history is history, right? Why break out a specific group of people? The answer is simple: Without acknowledging and celebrating the specific contributions of previously overlooked people - women, Blacks, Native Americans - we can’t get the whole picture of how our country evolved to become what it is today. 

Women’s History Month started out as Women’s History Week in 1978 in Santa Rosa, California, to correspond to International Women’s Day on March 8. Little by little, the idea spread to other communities across the country until President Jimmy Carter signed the first presidential proclamation in 1980 marking the week. 

After that, a presidential proclamation was signed every year keeping the designation alive until 1987, when Congress passed a law creating Women’s History Month. The Women’s History Alliance selects an annual theme. Since last year’s theme, the centennial of Women’s Suffrage, was reined in by the pandemic, it’s also this year’s theme. 

So here we are, deep into Women’s History Month. We’re watching the snow melt, planning our summer activities and maybe thinking about putting our winter coats away for the year. Let’s also spare a moment to appreciate the sacrifices of the women who protested, marched and died to win women the right to vote. 

If you don’t know anything about it - women really were killed - it’s a fascinating story of courage, camaraderie and sacrifice. And what’s more American than that? 




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