Celebrate the Accomplishments and History of Women this March during International Women’s Month
International women's day happens each year on March 8, during the month-long celebration of International Women's History Month, which celebrates and commemorates the contributions and accomplishments of women to our shared culture and history. Women's History Month started in the United States in 1987, though the first celebration of Women's History Day started in 1911. Historian Gerda Lerner brought attention to the commemoration in Sonoma, California, in 1978 and gathered representatives from Sarah Lawrence College, the Smithsonian, and the Women's Action Alliance to hold a fifteen-day conference at the college in 1979.
In February of 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8th National Women's Week and said the following:
"From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But 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. As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, 'Women's History is Women's Right.' It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision. I ask my fellow Americans to recognize this heritage with appropriate activities during National Women's History Week, March 2–8, 1980. I urge libraries, schools, and community organizations to focus their observances on the leaders who struggled for equality –Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul. Understanding the true history of our country will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people. This goal can be achieved by ratifying the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that 'Equality of Rights under the Law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."
Women's Month Celebrations Around the World
In Canada, Women's History Month was made official in 1982 and is intended to give citizens "an opportunity to learn about the important contributions of women and girls to our society – and to the quality of our lives today." The celebration is held in October to coincide with the October 18th decision that allowed women to become senators and is commonly associated with establishing fully equal rights for women and men.
The first Intl Women's Month in Australia occurred in 2000 and remains a time for celebrating women's contributions to the country's rich history and culture.
Women's History Month Celebration Ideas
One of the central answers when people ask how to celebrate women's month is to explore and learn more about women's rights and their contributions to our society. This includes exploring contemporary issues women still face and identifying ways to empower women in local communities.
Another popular way people celebrate women's history month is by volunteering at local organizations that serve women locally, from youth groups to sports leagues and more. Some people also choose the find women-owned businesses and give them extra support during women's month to show their solidarity. Some people also get on their social media accounts to voice their support for women's history month and highlight the numerous contributions women have made throughout history and to this day.
Additionally, some people choose to donate to a non-profit that benefits women and girls around the world by offering support to those in need in lower-income communities. This can also allow people the opportunity to celebrate women's month by hosting a fundraising event or gathering to examine how they can work together to create a positive impact for girls and women across the world.
People can also celebrate women's month by watching film's directed by women or exploring historically significant female artists in other mediums like painting, literature, and music.
Consider writing a letter or note to a woman that inspires you to acknowledge their dedication and contributions. Some people also choose to volunteer their time with a political group that advocates for women's rights and works with local communities.
Another way to celebrate international women's month is to write to elected officials on a topic that advocates for women's rights. Find a topic that resonates with your views and voice your opinion to politicians to help create a positive change for women and girls around the globe.
Local Women's Groups
During women's month, many people choose to volunteer or donate to local women's groups like Girls Inc, the Boys and Girls Club, and YWCA. Being a mentor can be a rewarding opportunity to make a profound change in a young person's life by offering your support and guidance to help them make the right decisions and build a life they are proud of.
AMany local women's groups can be found in faith-based organizations like churches, temples, and mosques and offer an excellent opportunity for volunteering or donating to those in need. Faith-based organizations often work with local communities to identify those in the most need of assistance and are a great way to get involved with your local community. This can lead to involvement that continues past women's history month and creates a positive change in your community.
Notable Women Throughout History
Born on February 15, 1820, in Adams, Massachusetts, Susan B. Anthony was one of the first women to advocate for women's right to vote and was also a pivotal figure in the temperance movement during the eighteenth century. Anthony was born into a Quaker household with a penchant for activism and advocating for social reform. Anthony's work laid the foundation for numerous notable women, and her professional partnership with Elizabeth Cady Stanton played a crucial role in women gaining the right to vote, though she would not live to see her accomplishment occur in 1920.
Stanton was known for her eloquent writing and activism and was the main force behind the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. This was the first convention with the sole stated purpose of discussing women's rights. Stanton and Anthony were close friends who also advocated for abolishing slavery. Stanton's pro-suffrage ideas generated controversy but soon became a central tenet of the women's movement.
Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in Swartekill, New York, in 1796 and escaped slavery with her infant daughter in 1826. She became a vocal activist in the women's and abolitionist movement during the eighteenth century and delivered speeches that would rally anti-slavery sentiments in the years leading up to the American Civil War. During the war, she helped recruit Union Troops to battle the Confederacy.
Lucy Stone was the first woman from Massachusetts to earn a college degree and a successful orator who spoke on women's rights and abolition during the eighteenth century. Stone initiated the first National Women's Rights Convention and hosted the event annually, attracting like-minded activists from across the nation. Stone inspired Anthony and Stanton with her activism and is considered one of the most influential thinkers of the early women's movement.
Lucretia Mott shifted her activism to include women's rights after being excluded from the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840. Her experience as a Quaker preacher made her a skilled orator and an influential voice in the women's movement.
Harriett Tubman was an essential part of the Underground Railroad, which helped enslaved people escape to free states during the eighteenth century. She became the first woman to lead an armed raid in the Civil War and freed 700 enslaved people at Chombahee Ferry. Tubman worked closely with regarded abolitionist Frederick Douglass, and the two admired each other's efforts in the fight against slavery leading up to the Civil War.
Alice Paul continued the fight for equal rights for women during the nineteenth century, inspired by the pioneering women before her. She was the President of the National Woman's Party for five decades and was instrumental in the inclusion of women in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which marked a turning point in women's rights. She fought for women to have constitutionally guaranteed rights and was an advocate of peaceful protest, which would become an essential component of the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950s and 1960s.
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