March 8 is International Women’s Day, which is a day that not only celebrates the achievements of women and the progress made toward women’s rights, but also brings attention to ongoing struggles for equality around the world.
The month of March is Women’s History Month, an annual celebration in the United States that recognizes and celebrates the contributions of women all throughout the nation’s history.
Throughout history, women have been erased and excluded, and women of color, transgender women, and queer women have been subjected to even more harmful oppression than their white, cisgender sisters. To truly embrace and understand the value of Women’s History Month, we must approach our celebrations with intersectionality and intention.
With that in mind, Women’s History Month is both a time to confront the ongoing injustices that plague women around the world — and an invitation to celebrate and rejoice in our shared humanity as women.
5 Facts About Women’s History Month
- Women’s History Month can trace its roots back to 1857. During this time, women from various New York City factories protested poor working conditions.
- The first Women’s Day celebration in the U.S. was in 1909. However, the catalyst for Women’s History Month began as a local weeklong celebration in Santa Rosa, California. In 1978, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women planned a celebration that corresponded with International Women’s Day, and the movement took off across the country.
- Women’s groups and historians lobbied for national recognition in 1980. In February of that year, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8th as National Women’s History Week.
- Congress designated the entire month of March Women’s History Month in 1987.
- Dr. Gerda Lerner, who was a key figure in the fight for this national observance, said: “Women’s history is women’s right.”