March 2023

The origins of Women’s History Month began in Sonoma County, California, when a group of women that would later become the leaders behind the National Women’s History Alliance (formally known as the National Women’s History Project) started a grassroots campaign to bring awareness to the contributions women have made to history. In response to the glaring lack of female representation in books and educational materials at the time, the women behind the movement founded a week-long celebration in 1978 that uplifted the impact women have had on advancing society, progress, and equality, as well as the important impact recognizing women in history has on younger generations.  

The National Women’s History Alliance soon made history of their own when just two years later, the advocates took to Washington to lobby for the federal recognition of Women’s History Week. Successful in their pursuits, President Jimmy Carter issued a formal declaration in 1980 recognizing the week of March 2-8 – intentionally aligned with Women’s History Day on March 8 – as Women’s History Week.  

Seven years after President Carter’s declaration, the National Women’s History Alliance continued to uplift the need for greater acknowledgement of the role women have played in history and petitioned Congress to pass a resolution that expanded the week into a month-long celebration, with March 1987 becoming the first Women’s History Month. Subsequently, each president since 1988 has continued to recognize March as Women’s History Month through a formal declaration.   

This year marks the 36th annual celebration of Women’s History Month and First 5 LA is proud to join along in the year’s theme — established by the National Women’s History Alliance — of “Celebrating women who tell our stories.” First 5 LA believes that the storytelling of lived experiences is a critical ingredient when it comes to systems change work, and we’re participating in the theme by amplifying the women who have driven positive and equitable change by sharing stories from their own lives, homes, and communities.  

For more information on the theme, we’ve included an excerpt from NWHA’s website:  

Throughout 2023, the NWHA will encourage recognition of women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, and more. The timely theme honors women in every community who have devoted their lives and talents to producing art, pursuing truth, and reflecting the human condition decade after decade. 

From the earliest storytellers through pioneering journalists, our experiences have been captured by a wide variety of artists and teachers.  These include authors, songwriters, scholars, playwrights, performers, and grandmothers throughout time. Women have long been instrumental in passing on our heritage in word and in print to communicate the lessons of those who came before us. Women’s stories, and the larger human story, expand our understanding and strengthen our connections with each other. 

For more information, resources, and virtual and in-person celebrations, check out our Women’s History Month resource library below: