Women's History Month: Things You Should Know -

Professional Development

Women’s History Month: Things You Should Know

Women’s History Month is celebrated each year to commemorate women’s accomplishments throughout history. Here’s some additional historical context from that’s important to share:

“Throughout our history, despite hardship, exclusion, and discrimination, women have strived and sacrificed for equity and equality in communities across the country.  Generations of Native American women were stewards of the land and continue to lead the fight for climate justice.  Black women fought to end slavery, advocate for civil rights, and pass the Voting Rights Act.  Suffragists helped pass the 19th Amendment to the Constitution so that no American could be denied a vote on the basis of sex.”

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ll be offering some insight into why and how it came to be, and look at the current state of women in the workplace.

Why is Women’s History Month in March, and how did it start?

It began as a single day, National Women’s Day, in 1909. The designated day was February 28th, commemorating the historic meeting of the socialists and suffragists in New York during the women’s suffrage movement.

In 1910, during the International Conference of Working Women, 17 countries agreed to recognize March 8th as International Women’s Day. This wasn’t widely recognized in the U.S until 1975.

In 1980, President Carter declared a National Women’s History Week that began on March 8th. 

In 1987, after the persistent efforts of nearly 15 states and several women’s groups, Congress declared March as Women’s History Month.

Why do we celebrate Women’s History Month?

The answer is simple. Women’s history is World history. We celebrate to remind ourselves of the vital role that women have played in the development of our society. We honor the accomplishments of the trail-blazing women throughout our history who have made significant contributions in the world of science, politics, culture, and so much more.

And even with all of the progress made, women and girls—especially women and girls of color— face systemic barriers and wider gaps in opportunity and equality.

What are the key historical dates to recognize throughout the month?

While there are many important dates to remember throughout Women’s History, these are among the most important:

  • March 1stTitle IX, which prohibited discrimination due to sex in federally funded education programs, was passed in 1972. This also coincides with the creation of the first-ever women’s history week.
  • March 1-4 The forming of the National Woman’s Party in 1917. Their mission was to get women the right to vote.
  • March 3rd – The first time suffragists marched on Washington in 1913.
  • March 8th – International Women’s Day.
  • March 10: A day to commemorate the life and accomplishments of Harriet Tubman, freedom seeker, Underground Railroad conductor, 19th century Black activist and a nurse known for her service during the Civil War as well as her advocacy for civil rights and women’s suffrage. Tubman died on this day in 1913.
  • March 22nd – The Equal Rights Amendment was passed in the Senate in 1972.

Why does each Women’s History Month have a theme?

Every Women’s History Month has a unique theme to help highlight and focus on different aspects of women’s history. The theme in 2022 is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This theme honors women who have dedicated their lives to helping others through medicine, social work, and more. 

The current state of women in the workplace.

  • Women remain underrepresented in leadership roles in the workforce, holding less than 30% of VP or SVP roles and just over 20% of C-level positions.
  • Women of color account for less than 5% of C-level positions.
  • Only 86 women are promoted to a managerial role for every 100 men.
  • In year 3 of this pandemic, men have since regained the jobs they lost in February 2020. Unfortunately, over 1.1 million women have yet to return to the labor force due to inadequate childcare, lack of paid leave, and uncertainty within the school system caused by the pandemic.

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