Women’s History Month is celebrated each March and is an opportunity to recognize women’s varied, and often under-recognized, accomplishments throughout history. Types of celebrations this month include television specials, political speeches, learning activities in classrooms, and social media posts.
There is a myth that suggests Women’s History Month’s occurs in March because of a strike held by New York City’s female garment workers in March over a hundred years ago. Supposedly, a group of women from multiple factories joined together to demand better working conditions and the right to vote. Although they were harassed by police and other City leaders, the group eventually formed their own union. An inspiring story, yes? Sadly it’s not true. There’s no evidence that this strike, or the union of women garment workers it inspired, ever existed. The myth was debunked in the late 1970’s.
Also in the 1970’s, American feminist groups extended International Women’s Day (which is held on March 8) to Women’s History Week in an effort to amplify women’s history in schools. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter designated the first National Women’s History Week, the week including March 8. Women’s history observations snowballed from there. By 1986, 14 states recognized March as Women’s History Month, and in the next year the United States Congree established Women’s History Month as an annual federally recognized observance. Each sitting U.S. president since 1995 has issued a yearly proclamation honoring the role of American women in history.