What you need to know about the evolution and legacy of Women’s Month

By Esther Muhozi
On 11 March 2024 at 10:26

Women’s Month, observed annually in March, serves as a time to recognize and celebrate the countless contributions and achievements of women throughout history.

This month-long celebration is not only a time to reflect on the progress made towards gender equality but also an opportunity to acknowledge the challenges women have faced and continue to face.

Let us delve into the rich history of Women’s Month and explore the remarkable journey that has led us to this moment.

Early beginnings

The roots of Women’s Month can be traced back to the early 20th century.

In 1909, the first National Women’s Day was observed in the United States, as women rallied for better working conditions, the right to vote, and equal pay.

This event marked a significant step forward in the pursuit of women’s rights.

International recognition

Women’s Month originated from the observance of International Women’s Day, which was first celebrated on March 8, 1911. The idea of dedicating a specific day to honor women’s achievements gained international recognition during the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910.

German activist Clara Zetkin proposed that International Women’s Day be recognized as an international holiday, and all 17 countries in attendance agreed.

Europeans began recognizing International Women’s Day on March 18, 1911, while Americans continued to rally for Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February until the 1970s

Evolution into Women’s Month

The concept of Women’s Month evolved from Women’s History Week, which was first celebrated in Santa Rosa, California, in 1978.

The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women organized the event to increase awareness of women’s contributions to society. The organizers selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International Women’s Day.

Over the next few years, other cities across the United States joined Santa Rosa in celebrating Women’s History Week. In 1980, U.S. President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week, urging everyone in the United States to participate.

The aim was to recognize the vital contributions of women throughout history that often went unnoticed or unsung. In 1987, Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as Women’s History Month, and since then, U.S. presidents have issued annual proclamations designating March as Women’s History Month

Women’s Month Today

Today, Women’s Month is celebrated by numerous countries around the world, each with their own unique events, initiatives, and campaigns. It has become a platform to raise awareness about gender inequality, promote women’s rights, and highlight the achievements of women in various fields.

Throughout Women’s Month, organizations, communities, and individuals come together to honor the extraordinary women who have paved the way for progress. It is a time to acknowledge the accomplishments of trailblazers, activists, and leaders who have fought tirelessly for gender equality, challenging societal norms and breaking barriers.

Moreover, Women’s Month is an opportunity to shed light on the ongoing struggles women face. It serves as a reminder that despite significant advancements, there is still work to be done to achieve true equality in all aspects of life, whether it be in the workplace, politics, education, or personal freedoms.

Women’s Month stands as a testament to the strength, resilience, and indomitable spirit of women throughout history. It is a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women, while also acknowledging the challenges they have faced.

As we continue to progress towards a more inclusive and equitable society, let us use this month as a catalyst for change, ensuring that every day becomes a celebration of women’s achievements and a commitment to their rights.