On this Day:
March 1 is the start of Women’s History Month (in the USA and elsewhere…)
Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8, and during October in Canada, corresponding with the celebration of Persons Day on October 18.
The commemoration began in 1978 as “Women’s History day” in Sonoma County, California, and was 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.
In the USA:
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 1988, U.S. presidents have issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as Women’s History Month on occasion.
State departments of education also began to encourage celebrations of Women’s History Month as a way to promote equality among the sexes in the classroom. Maryland, Pennsylvania, Alaska, New York, Oregon, and other states developed and distributed curriculum materials in all of their public schools, which prompted educational events such as essay contests. Within a few years, thousands of schools and communities began to celebrate of Women’s History Month. They planned engaging and stimulating programs about women’s roles in history and society, with support and encouragement from governors, city councils, school boards, and the U.S. Congress.
In March 2011, the Obama administration released a report, Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being, showing women’s status in the U.S. in 2011 and how it had changed over time. This report was the first comprehensive federal report on women since the report produced by the Commission on the Status of Women in 1963.
Some organizations have issued statements marking Women’s History Month, for example the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee.
A President’s Commission on the Celebration of Women in History in America recently sponsored hearings in many parts of the country. The Women’s Progress Commission will soon conduct hearings to promote interest in preserving areas that are relevant in American women’s history. Some of the groups promoting this interest are state historical societies, women’s organizations, and groups such as the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Women’s History Month was proclaimed in Canada in 1992, where its purpose is to give Canadians “an opportunity to learn about the important contributions of women and girls to our society – and to the quality of our lives today”. October was chosen to coincide with the celebration of the anniversary on October 18 of the decision of the court case Edwards v. Canada, more commonly known as the Persons Case, in which it was established that Canadian women were eligible to be appointed senators and in general had the same rights as Canadian men with respect to positions of political power.
The Gender Museum in Kharkiv hosts events in honor of Women’s History Month in Ukrainian.
Women’s History Month was first celebrated in Australia in 2000, initiated by Helen Leonard, convenor of the National Women’s Media Centre, working with the Women’s Electoral Lobby. The organisation of annual Women’s History Month celebrations is incorporated as part of the work of the Australian Women’s History Forum.
The archaeologists of the Szent István Király Museum (Székesfehérvár) made several Facebook posts in honor of Women’s History Month in 2021, the first time in Hungary. Also this year, in the Hungarian National Museum there was an exhibition with a title of “Women in Art” in March (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
“Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.” – Timothy Leary
Second, a Song:
Currently, less than 10% of American history curriculum focuses on women. And, of that 10%, 60% highlights American women as the helpmate and domestic partner. How are these selected historical examples shaping the attitudes of young boys and self-esteem of young girls? What would happen if we included more and more diverse stories of American women in American history–and young girls begin to see themselves in the curriculum they study? An expert in American women’s history and politics, Dr. Emily Krichbaum earned her doctorate from Case Western Reserve University and authored numerous articles on nineteenth and twentieth-century reformers. Her most recent work on Elizabeth Cady Stanton was published by the University of Notre Dame press in 2020.
For ten years, she taught at Ashland University, where she received both ‘Female Faculty Member of the Year’ and ‘Mentor of the Year’ awards. In 2018, Krichbaum founded Remember The Ladies, a non-profit organization that helps teachers and school districts incorporate more women’s history into American history classrooms.
Most recently, Krichbaum joined the Upper School faculty at Columbus School for Girls and teaches American history and politics. She resides in Bexley, Ohio with her husband, Brian, and their dog, Quincy. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx
Here is Dr. Emily Krichbaum in her TEDx talk “Remember the Ladies: The Importance of Women’s History” courtesy of YouTube.com. I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“Stop telling girls they can be anything they want when they grow up. I think it’s a mistake. Not because they can’t, but because it would have never occurred to them that they couldn’t.” – Sarah Silverman
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Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky