A Brief History
Every year March is designated Women's History Month by Presidential proclamation 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 8, 1980, as National Women's History Week.
In March, subsequent presidents continued to proclaim a National Women's History Week 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."
The National Women's History Alliance: Annual Theme - "Women Providing Healing, Promoting Health"
This year's theme is both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.
Women as healers harken back to ancient times. Healing is the personal experience of transcending suffering and transforming it into wholeness. The gift of hope spreads light to the lives of others and reflects a belief in the unlimited possibilities of this and future generations. Together, healing and hope are essential fuels for our dreams and our recovery.
The NWHA encourages communities to honor local women who have historically brought these priceless gifts to their families, workplaces, and neighborhoods, sometimes at great sacrifice. These are women who, as counselors and clerics, artists and teachers, doctors, nurses, mothers, and grandmothers, listen, ease suffering, restore dignity, and make decisions for our general as well as our personal welfare.
Women have long advocated for compassionate treatments and new directions in public health and women's mental and physical health. Women have also historically led the way in mending divisions, healing wounds, and finding peaceful solutions. In so many ways and in addition to so many other tasks, this timeless work has helped countless individuals in our communities recover and follow their dreams.
The 2022 theme proudly honors those who, in both public and private life, provide healing and promote hope for the betterment of all.