Women's History Month
March is Women's History Month. Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.
The first Women's History Day was held in 1909: Feb. 28, 1909 marked the first Woman's History Day in New York City. 15,000 women marched through lower Manhattan. From 1909 to 1910, immigrant women who worked in garment factories held a strike to protest their working conditions. Most of them were teen girls who worked 12-hour days. In 1987, it became Women's History Month: In March of 1987, activists successfully lobbied Congress to declare March Women's History Month.
The National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for Women's History Month. The 2022 theme is "Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope." This theme 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."
In an impressive increase from years past, 3 percent of women in the United States had completed four years or more of college in 2020. This figure is up from 3.8 percent of women in 1940. However, men with a Bachelor’s Degree continue to have higher weekly earnings on average than their female counterparts. 42 percent of women still face gender discrimination at work. They also face the "motherhood penalty," in which women earn less money after they become mothers while men who become fathers actually earn more. The gender pay gap still persists: Women who work full-time and year-round are paid about 82 cents for every dollar that a man makes, with that gap widening even more for women of color, according to the National Women's Law Center.
Women make up 24 percent of Congress: One-hundred and six women serve in the United States Congress out of 535 total members. Though the number of women representatives continues to rise, it's important to keep in mind that the United States population is 50.8 percent female, according to Census data. Women make up 8 percent of the labor force.
Some ways you can celebrate Women's History month are the following:
- Support Female Entrepreneurs: By supporting the women contributing to our economic health, we could create a platform for female-typed industries to be well known on campus.
- Write a Thank You Note
- Paint in Honor of Female Artists
- Watch Films About Famous Women
- Go Virtual: Throw an event to host a conversation on a virtual platform such as zoom. Build community around gender issues and have an event open to discussion about women’s history could be an interesting way to connect with new friends.