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The Significance of Women’s History Month

From honoring women like Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, and Abigail Adams, Women’s History Month goes beyond commemorating their valiant efforts and instead, extends itself as a calling for other women to stand, speak, and encourage one another to reach new heights and goals for the future of women around the world. While similar events like International Women’s Day are typically celebrated across the globe, Women’s History Month is oftentimes remembered as a moment of reflection and ongoing conversations of how far women have come in today’s society. As a university centered on developing Christian leaders for ministry and vocational service, ACU Online champions its female students, staff, and professors to excel in their educational and professional journeys to become highly skilled career women. Kicking off the start of this momentous month-long celebration of women’s efforts to strive for excellence and innovation, here are some quick facts to know about Women’s History Month and why we honor it. 

What is Women’s History Month?

Throughout the month of March, Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society in the United States. 

Beginning as a local event, known as “Women’s History Week” in 1978 in Santa Rosa, California, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women organized a week-long event where teachers, public officials and local community members could learn more about the history of the women’s suffrage movement, social activists involved in the civil rights movement, and other important female heroes of the twentieth century. Strategically placed during International Women’s Day (March 8), the movement spread across the country as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week events the following year. Years later, in 1980, a group of historians and philanthropists worked alongside the National Women’s History Project and lobbied to have the week become a national celebration which was later approved by President Jimmy Carter. 

As time progressed, subsequent presidents continued to proclaim National Women’s History Week in March until 1987. Soon after passing Public Law 100-9, National Women’s History Week received the designation of “Women’s History Month.” And since 1988, Congress continued to pass additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the president to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. 

Which women are recognized during the month?

One of the beauties of Women’s History Month is the vast amount of women that are honored every year. Ranging from various monumental achievements like becoming the first female pilot, secretary of state, or prima ballerina, the list of accomplishments of women in United States’ history has grown significantly. According to the National Women’s History Museum, there are hundreds of women who are selected as inspirational history makers because of their impact on the world at large. Some of these women include: 

  • Sacagawea: a Native American woman who helped make Lewis and Clark’s expedition to map parts of the West in the early 19th century a success
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe: an abolitionist author who rose to fame with the publication of her best-selling book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which highlighted the evils of slavery, angered the slaveholding South in 1851. 
  • Harriet Tubman: a brave and determined African American woman who led hundreds of slaves to freedom during the Civil War. 
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: two Americans who fought for women’s equality in the mid-19th century, more than 70 years before the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote in 1920.
  • Amelia Earhart: one of the world’s first woman pilots — and first woman aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean — who mysteriously disappeared over the Pacific Ocean in 1937.
  • Rosa Parks: a legacy figure for her resistance in racial discrimination and thus, setting in motion one of the largest social movements in history, the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. 
  • Madeleine Albright: a diplomat and political scientist who became the first female Secretary of State in 1996.
  • Misty Copeland: the first Black woman to be named a principal dancer in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre in 2015.
  • Sandra Cisneros: internationally recognized Latinx writer known for The House on Mango Street which sold six million copies in 2016.
  • Stacey Abrams: one of the most prominent African American female politicians in the United States by becoming the first woman and first African American to hold positions in state and national politics in 2018. 

How can I celebrate Women’s History Month?

There are so many ways you can observe Women’s History Month. Whether you’re looking to host some events for your workplace or want to teach your kids at home about the observance, you can find several unique opportunities to honor the holiday as well as learn a thing or two about some pretty significant women in U.S. history. 

Host a “Lunch and Learn” Opportunity

One of the many ways you can bring people from across departments and committees together is to host a learn and learn. Coordinating an informational session during your office’s lunch break, you can bring in presenters that can highlight influential women throughout history and the present day. Through this, you will not only educate staff members on prominent historical figures and celebrate their milestones but also can facilitate open conversations on what it means to support pivotal women today. 

Create a Recognition Program

Another way you can participate in the holiday is to create a recognition program where employees can nominate a “woman of the year” to showcase their appreciation for an outstanding member of your organization. The selected individual can even be recognized at company-wide meetings or by making an announcement in a company newsletter, email or webpage. Interested in going the extra mile? Honor the recipient with a prize, plaque or certificate that commemorates their efforts in your workplace. 

Take a Virtual Museum Tour

If you’re looking for ways to learn more about the month at home (alone or with your family), take a virtual tour of the National Women’s History Museum. You can learn about trailblazing women past and present through virtual online exhibits, documents, video clips and photographs. Covering a variety of topics related to women’s history, including the women of NASA, social justice, STEM, world wars, first ladies and more, the museum even hosts exclusive exhibits free for the public, such as the “First But Not the Last” exhibit that documents the stories of women who ran for president, and the “Standing up for Change: African American Women and the Civil Rights Movement” online exhibit, featuring the remarkable women that have fought for equality. 

Regardless of how you celebrate Women’s History Month this year, we encourage you to reflect and be reminded of how important it is to support the efforts of women, who are working tirelessly to break the barriers and make significant contributions to our world. 

Interested in learning more about our unique online programs? Visit our website or call 855-219-7300 today.

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