What is Women’s History Month & how did it begin? Why do we celebrate it & how is it celebrated? This fact based introduction shall answer some questions.
What is International Women’s History Month?
International Women’s History Month is an annually declared month of recognition and acknowledgement of women’s accomplishments and contributions (in all aspects of life from social to economic, political and cultural) to the history of civilization.
How it began
Women’s History Month is traced as far back as March 8, 1857, when 15,000 women from various textile and garment industries in New York City factories staged a protest over poor working conditions, low wage and sexual harassment in the workplace.
Now recognized as a global tradition since local celebration in Santa Rosa in 1978 as “Women’s History Day”.
Their courage inspired the song “Bread and Roses” which has become associated with International Women’s Day. Bread symbolizes economic justice and roses represent quality of life.
Championed by Gerda Lerner and the National Women’s History Alliance to be recognized as a national week (1980) and then month (1987) in the United States, spreading internationally after that.
With few exceptions, historians largely hadn’t presented important work of women.
Pioneer in the field of women’s history and among the most early members of the National Organization for women, Gerda Lerner (30 April 1920 – 2 January 2013) was an influential figure in the development of women’s history since the 1960s.
In 1968 and in partnership with Italian Renaissance historian Joan Kelly, Lerner developed an MA program in women’s history. In 1980, she won a professorship where she developed a PhD program for women’s history.
“In my courses, the teachers told me about a world in which ostensibly one-half the human race is doing everything significant and the other half doesn’t exist.”Gerda Lerner, a historian at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, told the Chicago Tribune in 1993.
Why we celebrate it
It is important to keep women’s achievements in history prevalent, vital and existing. To devote celebration to women’s contributions to the history of our civilization as significant and relevant.
How it is celebrated
Television Networks spikes in viewership featuring classic biographies and documentaries. Hosts covers reportages and streaming services highlights tv shows and documentaries that reflect empowering female characters and underrated performances by broadcasting movies and tv shows directed and produced by women, led by award-winning actresses. Websites publish both recent and historical articles and individual bloggers journaling their thoughts.
- Audiable is committed to elevating women’s voices.
- Microsoft supports women’s History Month.
- Xbox celebrates International Women’s Day in support of women in gaming.
- MTV pays tribute to the talent, success and accomplishments of music’s biggest names, all month long.
- Back in 2021, Marvel released a variant cover collection of Marvel’s most popular female heroes, created by artist Jen Bartel.
- American multinational technology company Apple feature stories and highlights honor powerful female voices.
- Since 2014, the State Council of China urged (but not required) employers to grant full-time female employees half the working day off from work every year on March 8 (March 8 being the National Women’s Day).
Why is March Women’s History Month?
March 1908, 15,000 women occupied the streets of New York to send a message demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote.
President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the week of March 8, 1980 to be National Women’s History Week, citing in his proclamation that:
The National Women’s History Alliance (committed to the goals of education, empowerment, equality, and inclusion) expanded from a 1980’s project, declares an annual theme in honor of the occasion.
The 2022 Women’s History theme, “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” is both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.National Women’s Alliance
Significant & Related Days in March
Which efforts by women throughout history do you think are important? What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Comment below to let us know
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