Women’s History Month and Why We Celebrate it

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March 1st marked the start of Women’s History Month celebrations across the world, including in the U.S., UK, and Australia. This month celebrates not only woman’s history, but the incredible woman across the world today.  Women’s History Month is also a time for reflecting on how far women have come in the fight for equality. But how did Women’s History Month start and why is it so important? 

How did Women’s History Month start?

The origin story of Women’s History Month goes all the way back to 1908 when thousands of women marched in New York City for better labor laws, conditions, and the right to vote. This massive display of unity acted as a catalyst for the first International Women’s Day which took place a year later on February 28th in Manhattan.

The idea of a day devoted to women and the women’s right movement rapidly gained popularity in Europe. This popularity led to International Woman’s Day being introduced at the International Conference of Women in Copenhagen in 1910. It was there that all 100 women in attendance from 17 countries agreed that March 8th would officially be known as International Women’s day. 

Years later, back in the U.S., Congress declared Women’s History Week after the initial day gained additional support in the 70s. The growing recognition of Women’s History Week caused the upgrade from a Women’s History week to a month in 1986. 

Women’s History Month today

Now, Women’s History Month is bigger than ever and is recognized across the globe. The month normally consists of celebrations and events aimed at highlighting incredible women and their accomplishments. Many schools take time in March to talk about the evolution of women’s rights. Museums host exhibits and produce videos on woman’s history and the importance of gender equality. This year, all celebrations have moved to a virtual setting, by hosting discussion groups, virtual exhibits, screening documentaries and more! For more information on how you can celebrate virtually, check out the Women’s History Month website!

Why is women’s history month important? 

March serves as a time to look back on women throughout history and how far the world has come towards gender equality. It is also a time to inspire the next generation of women to work towards their goals. By honoring the incredible women of the past, we highlight the road that they paved for women everywhere to follow their dreams. It is crucial that these women and their contributions to society are never forgotten or taken for granted.

This month is also important because it exposes the issues that women continue to face globally despite drastic improvements throughout history.  Issues such as the pay gap, lack of women in positions of power, and continuing harassment must be combated. Statistics like “a third of all women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime,” are proof that the fight for woman’s rights and equality are far from over. 

Jenna Legge

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