Women’s history is all around us; it has helped shape us and transformed the country that we call home. Truly, women’s history is American history. Every March, we take the time to recognize all that female power has done to shape the United States with Women’s History Month.
While today in modern day America women are unequivocally equal in all rights of the word, unfortunately, history tells a different story. Women as a population have been through strife and struggle to stand at the place they are now in the United States. Today, women’s accomplishments are recognized in the month of March in the form of Women’s History Month.
Women’s History Month is observed in the US, Great Britain, and Australia in the month of March. Canada hosts a similar month-long event in the month of October. The idea of celebrating women dates back to 1911, when the first International Women’s Day was held on March 8th. The day, celebrated every year across the globe, is recognized as a day to honor the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day was commemorated by the United Nations in 1975.
During the 1970s, International Women’s Day took off and was celebrated by local groups and municipalities during a week-long event named Women’s History Week. The week celebration garnered immense popularity and support. By the later 1970s, women and men alike began lobbying for a formal observance of the event. It was in 1980 that the observance became official: President Jimmy Carter was the first to designate the first National Women’s History Week, beginning on March 8th.
Pretty soon, American states began extending their celebrations of women’s history past just a day or a week. A national push for a month-long celebration came to a head in 1987, when Congress declared March to be the official Women’s History Month.
The National Museum of Women in Washington D.C. is the only museum in the world fully devoted to celebrating women in the arts. This month, as any other month at the NMWA, is chock-full of events that celebrate women like gallery talks and exhibitions. NMWA offers a unique experience that extends outside of the museum, with resources for educators to continue the conversation in schools and institutions.
American history is our forte, and women’s history is deeply rooted in our collections. Our book collection in particular offers a great selection of works by female artists. Discover classics like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. We also offer an original signed edition of Helen Keller’s The Story of My Life, which she wrote when she was only 22 years old.
Shop the Women’s History Month collection.
The Story of My Life Signed by Helen Keller, Dated October 11th, 1937
There are so many ways to celebrate women! Across the country, local organizations are hosting events to honor women and celebrate their history. Try attending a local rally, talk, or celebratory event in your neighborhood!