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  • David Glenn Hunt Memorial Library
  • WOMEN IN HISTORY


    Every year March is designated Women’s History Month by Presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions in American history.

    Did You Know? Women’s History Month started as Women’s History Week

    Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. The organizers selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International Women’s Day. The movement spread across the country as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week celebrations the following year.

    In 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians—led by the National Women’s History Project (now the National Women's History Alliance)—successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women’s History Week.

    Subsequent Presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week in March until 1987 when Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, each president has issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

    CLICK HERE TO VIEW A TIMELINE OF NOTABLE EVENTS IN WOMEN'S HISTORY. 

     

    NOTABLE FIGURES IN WOMEN'S HISTORY 


     

    Mary W. Jackson


    Mary W. Jackson became the first African American woman to be an engineer for NASA. Jackson received a job in the computing unit at NASA's Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in 1951. After she began working with engineer Kazimierz Czarnecki in the 4-foot by 4-foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel, Jackson had to fight to be allowed to take the then-segregated graduate courses necessary to officially become the first black female engineer at NASA in 1958.

    Read more about Mary W. Jackson

    Image Credit: NASA

    Mary W. Jackson

    Edith Wharton


    Edith Wharton was a poet and fiction writer from New York City, born in 1862. Wharton wrote over 50 books in her life, and became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1921 for her book "The Age of Innocence".

    Read more about Edith Wharton

    Image credit: "Young Edith Wharton" by WBUR

    Edith Wharton

    Sacagawea


    Sacagawea was a Shoshone interpreter and the only woman on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Knowledgeable in the local language, fauna, and terrain, Sacagawea was an instrumental member of the expedition. She also famously carried her newborn son on her back through much of the journey.

    Read more about Sacagawea

    Image credit: "2000P Sacagawea Dollar" by Bernie Emmons

    Sacagewea

    Amelia Earhart


    Amelia Earhart was born in 1897 in Atchison, Kansas. She gained fame when she became the first female aviator to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 1928. But being a passenger was not enough for Amelia, and in 1932 she became the first woman to make a nonstop solo transatlantic flight

    Read more about Amelia Earhart

     Source: Biography.com

    Amelia Earhart

    Yoko Ono


    Yoko Ono is a Japanese-American visual and performance artist who made instrumental contributions to the conceptual art movement of the 1960s. Although her public persona sometimes becomes complicated by her marriage to John Lennon, Yoko Ono has and continues to be an undeniable force in the world of art, filmmaking, and music.

    Read more about Yoko Ono.

    Source: Museum of Modern Art

    Yoko Ono

    Marie Curie


    Marie Curie, born in 1867, was a French-Polish scientist who paved the way in the study of radioactivity. Curie was a woman of many firsts; she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, then the first woman to win two Nobel Prizes, the first woman professor at the University of Paris, and to this day she is the only person to win Nobel prizes in two different scientific fields.

    Read more about Marie Curie. 

    Image Credit: "File:Irene and Marie Curie 1925.jpg" by Unknown author is licensed under CC BY 4.0

    Marie Curie

    Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor


    Sonia Sotomayor is a current Supreme Court Justice and was the first Hispanic/Latina Supreme Court Justice in United States history. After working in federal courts for several years, Sotomayor was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2009 by President Barack Obama.

    Read more about Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

     Image Credit: "Sonia Sotomayor accepts the nomination by President Obama" by Jay Tamboli is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Source: Biography.com

    Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

    Malala Yousafzai


    As a young girl, Malala Yousafzai defied the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 but survived. In 2014, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Read more about Malala Yousafzai.

    Image credit: "Malala Yousafzai" by Southbank Centre London is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Source: Biography.com

    Malala Yousafzai

    Rosa Parks


    Rosa Parks was a prominent civil rights activist best known for her refusal to give up her bus seat to a white passenger as instructed, according to Alabama segregation laws. Parks' act of defiance helped inspire the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955-1956.

    Read more about Rosa Parks

     Source: Biography.com

    Rosa Parks

    First Female Vice President: Vice President Kamala Harris


    January 20, 2021

    In 2021, Kamala Harris became the vice president of the United States, making her the first female vice president and the first Black and Asian American woman to hold this position.

    In 2016, Kamala Harris became the second African American woman and the first South Asian American to win a seat in the U.S. Senate. 

    Read more about Vice President Kamala Harris. 

    Image credit: Michael Perez of the Associated Press

    Vice President Kamala Harris
    Reference: A Brief History: Women's History Month retrieved from the National Women's History Museum.
    Guide Credits: This guide was created by Morgan Franklin