NPSD Celebrates Women's History Month

Women's History Month

Women's History Month

A Brief History


Since 1910, March 8th has been observed as International Women's Day by people around the world. In 1978, an education task force in Sonoma County, California, kicked off Women's History Week on this day. The goal was to draw attention to the fact that women's history wasn't really included in the K-12 school curriculum. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the entire month of March as Women's History Month. The following year, Congress declared March as Women's History Month.

Traditionally, history has focused on political, military, and economic leaders and events. This approach has often excluded women, both leaders and ordinary citizens, from the accounts. Women's history does not rewrite history, but rather provides a more complete picture of what the women were doing and experiencing during the well-known and lesser known moments in history.

A Few Fun Facts


1. Women often wrote under pen names in times when it was not seen as appropriate for them to contribute to literature. Some female authors who are highly regarded today used fake names like Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters, Mary Ann Evans (perhaps better known by her pen name, George Eliot), and Louisa May Alcott. 
2. February 28, 1909 marked the first Woman's History Day in New York City. It commemorated the one-year anniversary of the garment workers' strikes when 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.
3. The 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote, was signed into law on August 26, 1920. At that time, a number of other laws prohibited Native American women, Black women, Asian American women, and Latina women from voting. It wasn't until 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, that discriminatory tactics such as literacy tests were outlawed and all women could vote. 
4. At the first Winter Olympic Games in 1924, the only event open to women was figure skating. Women were not allowed to compete in track and field events at the Olympics until 1928. 
5. In 1933, Frances Perkins became the first female member of a president's cabinet when she was appointed as the Secretary of Labor under Franklin D. Roosevelt. 
6. Over 60% of college degrees awarded in the U.S. every year are earned by women.
7. In 2021, 144 of 539 seats (27%) of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate were held by women. This represented a 50% increase from the 96 women who served in the 112th Congress a decade ago. 

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