A Brief History of Women’s History Month

March 2, 2020

Retrieved from Pixabay, Female Gender Symbol.


The month of March is almost here, and with it come many things to anticipate.
Spring flowers, warmer weather and spring break are among them, but one
particularly specific to March is the celebration of women’s important role in


This celebration of women began in 1981, when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28
which authorized the President to designate a week in March as Women’s History
Week. A portion of the law reads, “American women of every race, class, and
ethnic back-ground helped found the nation in countless recorded and unrecorded
ways as servants, slaves, nurses, nuns, homemakers, industrial workers, teachers,
reformers, soldiers, and pioneers…American women have played and continue to
play a critical economic, cultural, and social role in every sphere of our Nation's
life….” The first Women’s History Week was celebrated in 1982. For the next five
years, one week in March was dedicated to recognizing women’s history. After
being petitioned by the Women’s History Project in 1987, Congress passed another
law which designated the entire month of March to the celebration of women’s role
in history, and so began what is now known as Women’s History Month.


Kristin Waldo, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Eastern New
Mexico University, believes it is important to recognize and celebrate women’s
role in history because it has often been overlooked. Waldo said in many cases
women’s contributions and achievements have not been properly credited. “I think
the cultural focus is on the male, the person that actually does the final product,
whatever that is,” she said. “They fought the war of independence, or they walked

on the moon, and those figureheads are male, and everyone who helped them
achieve those things aren’t as important.”


Although Waldo fully supports the recognition and celebration of women, she
shared some mixed emotions on the subject. “Women’s history is actually really
important and at the same time it’s kind of, to me, sad that we have to designate
something as special as a Women’s History Month to recognize it,” Waldo said. “If
women were recognized historically and currently as being on par or equal with
men, there would not be the need to have a women’s history month, because it
would just be part of every day that we would know about all the accomplishments
and contributions women have made.”


Waldo went on to acknowledge the contributions of many other groups who have
also been overlooked; who have yet to have any designated time of celebration and
recognition assigned to their roles and accomplishments. She shared that it is her
hope to see everyone get their due recognition in the future, and that celebrating
women’s history is a step in that direction. “I think it’s part of an important
movement among populations that have been excluded to have their voice heard.”



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