Women’s History Month is a time to honor ordinary and extraordinary women, explore women’s achievements and struggles throughout history, and acknowledge women’s contributions to our society. The 2021 theme for Women’s History Month is “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced.”
The concept of Women’s History Month began as “Women’s History Week” in Santa Rosa, California, in 1978. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women organized this local celebration and chose to have it in March because it aligned with International Women’s Day. The movement began to spread across the country and several women’s groups came together in 1980 and lobbied for the celebration to receive national recognition. This was led by the National Women’s History Project (now the National Women’s History Alliance). In February of that year, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8,1980, as “National Women’s History Week”. Presidents continued to follow suit and in 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-9, which declared March as “Women’s History Month.”
Women’s History Month is an excellent time to talk with students about gender stereotypes and bias, hail important women in history, discover more about women’s issues and their fight for equity. We should be thoughtful about centering all women, including women of color, LGBTQ women, women with disabilities, women in medicine, education, sports, etc. Through the years, women have made incredible strides, broken down barriers, and broken through ceilings in an effort to advance their rights and those of women following in their footsteps. As with other similarly themed months, it is important not to isolate exploration of women’s history and culture into one month during the year. Women’s history is U.S. history and should be integrated into the curriculum throughout the school year.
Below is a list of resources that center, recognize, honor, and celebrate women in history and women who are making history.