The history of women: International women’s month


Silhouettes of various women in women’s history month.

March 8th is known as International Women’s Day, which began to be celebrated in March of 1908 when women began to protest unfair working conditions and unequal rights for their gender. It was one of the first organized strikes by working women. Led by German campaigner and socialist Clara Zetkin, the idea to turn the day into an international movement advocating universal suffrage was established at the International Conference of Working Women in 1910. Her efforts were crucial to the day’s recognition throughout much of Europe in the early 1910s.

There, also, an international  women’s month was created as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Public Law 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982, as “Women’s History Week.” For several years March started to be an official international women’s month. These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made throughout American history in various fields.

By 1986, 14 states had already declared March as Women’s History Month. This momentum and state-by-state action were used as the rationale to lobby Congress to declare the entire month of March 1987 as National Women’s History Month. A special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women.

March is also Women’s History Month in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and it is a time to celebrate and recognize the amazing contributions of women throughout history.