March is Women’s History Month! Celebrated annually, Women’s History Month is a time for recognizing the critical contributions women have made to history, while raising awareness about gender bias and promoting solutions toward greater gender equality.  

The origins of Women’s History Month began in Sonoma County, California, when the Education Task Force of Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women planned a week-long event known as “Women’s History Week” in 1978, according to the National Women’s History Museum. The week — which was chosen to align with International Women’s Day on March 8 — quickly gained traction across the country, with various organizations, school districts and communities organizing their own celebrations the following year.  

In 1980, Women’s History Week received national attention when a group of female historians and advocates led by the National Women’s History Alliance (formally known as the National Women’s History Project) lobbied for the week to become a federally recognized event. Successful in their pursuits, President Jimmy Carter issued a formal declaration in February 1980 to recognize the week of March 2-8 as Women’s History Week, stating that the “achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.” In response to the popularity of the declaration, Congress formally passed a resolution to make Women’s History Week a federally recognized celebration, with the first congressionally recognized week taking place in March 1982.  

Seven years later, Women’s History Week was expanded into a month-long celebration when the National Women’s History Alliance petitioned Congress to pass a resolution, making March 1987 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 35th annual celebration of Women’s History Month. The theme this year — established by the National Women’s History Alliance — is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” which inspires us to recognize women of all cultures who have provided both as caregivers and frontline workers throughout the pandemic. And it continues to remind us of the healing and hope women have lifted-up throughout history, sustaining the present that makes brighter futures possible for generations to come. 

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