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:
- 2023 Women’s Conference: Join us for a free Women’s Conference to build your leadership, professional development, and networking skills! – March 25, 2023
- BPN Los Angeles’ 2023 Black Women in Excellence Mixer: Join us as we honor phenomenal women in the LA community during Women’s History Month! – March 16, 2023
- ReImagine LA: 2023 Women’s HerStory Month Celebration: Join us for Annual 2023 Sheros Award Dinner!!! RSVP Today!!!
- International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women Near and Far: This International Women’s Day, we celebrate local women making an impact in their communities and worldwide. – March 8. 2023
- 2023 Legendary Women Artists of Venice Awards – Year of Strength: 5th Anniversary Celebration of the Legendary Women Artists of Venice 2023: Year of Strength – Presented by the Venice Art Crawl – March 16th, 2023
- Los Angeles County African American Employees Association: 2023 Virtual Women’s Month Celebration
- California State University, Long Beach: A guide for finding information about Women’s History Month
- Los Angeles Public Library: Women’s History Month
- Library of Congress: A guide to Women’s History Resources
- New America: Celebrating Women in Early Childhood Education
- National Women’s History Museum: Explore our collection of virtual exhibits and learn about trailblazing women, past and present
- National Women’s History Museum: Digital Classroom Resources
- No Small Matter: A Brief History of Early Learning – Part 1 | NO SMALL MATTER a film about early childhood
- The Wise Channel: Why Do We Celebrate Women’s History Month? | The Wise Channel
- PBS LEARNING MEDIA | Women’s History Month | PBS KIDS
- Post University: Honoring Education Pioneers for Women’s History Month
- SocialStudies.com: 25 Trailblazers to Celebrate This Women’s History Month