Women’s History Month

History Timeline

  • February 28th, 1909: Was the first National’s Woman’s Day, a day that commemorated the meeting of socialists and suffragists in Manhattan.
  • March 8th, 1910: One year later, a German activist named Clara Zetkin suggested that they recognize International Women’s Day at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. With 17 countries in attendance at the conference, they all agreed.
  • March 8th, 1911: The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark.
  • 1975: United Nations began sponsoring International Women’s Day.
  • 1977: A task force in California created Women’s History Week, after Title IX was created. They used that week to celebrate the accomplishments of women.
  • March 1980: President Jimmy Carter declared that March 8 was officially the start of National Women’s History Week. That same year, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and Maryland Representative Barbara Mikulski co-sponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution declaring the week of March 8, 1981, National Women’s History Week.
  • March 12th, 1987: Congress declared the entire month of March Women’s History Month.

Since then, every president has declared the month of March Women’s History Month. We celebrate Women’s History Month to remind ourselves of the accomplishments of women throughout the years to our culture and society. From science to politics, it is a chance to reflect on the trailblazing women who lead the way for change.


Books to Read

Finding My Voice: Valerie Jarrett, is the longest-serving senior adviser to President Barack Obama. This book shares her experiences and includes her personal life, personal challenges, and the road Jarrett took from Chicago to the White House.

Well-Read Black Girl: Based on the well known, Well-Read Black Girl Book Club comes this collection of essays. Written by Black women these small essays and stories explain the importance of representation in literature and more.


Movies/Series

Notorious RGB: In the last decade of her life, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg achieved a status her colleagues hadn’t: She became a pop culture icon, aka the Notorious RBG. As the 2018 documentary RBG makes clear, it was largely because of her pointed dissents defending everything from reproductive rights to pay equity to voting rights. But long before she sat on the nation’s highest court, she was fighting for gender equality. In the movie, Gloria Steinem describes her as “the closest thing to a superhero I know.” The film features interviews with Ginsburg, her children, granddaughter, friends, former colleagues and even a few politicians — those who agreed with her decisions and those who didn’t. It also makes good use of audio from the cases she argued in front of the Supreme Court (she won five out of six). Stream on Hulu.

See the Trailer >

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: A woman of her time, Midge is a cheerleader wife to a man who dreams of a stand-up comedy career, but her perfect life is upended when her husband suddenly leaves her for another woman. Utterly unprepared, Midge is left with no choice but to reevaluate her life.

See the Trailer >

Other movies and series to consider: Synopsis of the movies and series to watch can be found here.


Podcasts

Encyclopedia Womannica: If your idea of “powerful women from history” stops after RBG and Beyoncé, subscribe to Encyclopedia Womannica. It’s a mini biography of a fascinating woman every day, at around seven minutes each. You could have three new feminist heroes in the time it takes to go on a coffee run. Find on Spotify!

Black Girl in Om: This is a truly tranquil, beautiful space for meditative conversations with fascinating women of color “on their unique journey toward wholeness.” Baths and candles are all well and good when it comes to self-care, but access to teachers and caring communities is vital too, and Black Girl in Om is blissfully accessible. The podcast is a platform that centers the wellness needs of women of color with a combination of spirituality and down-to-earth lifestyle tips. Find on Spotify!


Celebrate the voices of women, who have broken barriers in history, by perusing the information below.

Claudia Gordon

“I am motivated by knowing that although progress is being made towards inclusion and access, there is still a great deal more work to be done.”

  • An advocate for disability issues (worked with the Obama administration)
  • Has worked at the National Council on Disability, the National Coalition for Disability Rights, and Homeland Security
  • First Black deaf lawyer in America
  • First deaf student to graduate from American University’s law school

Kalpana Chawla

“At the sunset, there was a moon — its crescent was razor sharp and the colour was dusty silvery. Then the moon raced away from us and was lost in the glow of the earth’s curvature. Almost like a story book that you read as a child. Gosh, I enjoyed every moment up there.”

  • First Indian-American Female Astronaut and second Indian-American Person in Space
  • In 1997, she made 252 orbits of the Earth in just over two weeks as part of the Columbia crew on flight STS-87
  • Second voyage launched Jan 16, 2003, in which she served as mission specialist.
  • Her and 6 other crew members were killed with their aircraft broke apart upon re-entry into Earth’s orbit

Janet Mock

“My body, my clothes, and my makeup are on purpose, just as I am on purpose.”

  • Author of New York Times Bestseller, Redefining Realness. It is the first book written by a trans person who transitioned as a young person.
  • Former Staff Editor of People Magazine and contributing editor at Marie Claire
  • Director, Writer, and Executive Producer for Pose, The Politician, and Hollywood

Malala Yousafzai

“Do not wait for someone else to come and speak for you. It’s you who can change the world”

  • She is the author of, I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Short by the Taliban, which details her life under the Taliban regime and her survival after being shot in the head when she was 14.
  • She continues to advocate for women’s education around the world.
  • Founder of the Malala Foundation that helps to fund education efforts around the world as well as provide teaching opportunities.

Zora Neale Hurston

“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

  • Influential Harlem Renaissance author, filmmaker, anthropologist
  • Author of four novels including, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • In 1937, earned a Guggenheim fellowship to conduct ethnographic research in Jamaica and Haiti.

Shirley Chisholm

“I want history to remember me… not as the first Black woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States, but as a Black woman who lived in the 20th century and who dared to be herself.”

  • First Black woman to serve in congress and served from 1968-1983. In addition, she was the first Black American to run for president (1972).
  • Wrote the book, Unbossed and Unbought, an autobiography about her advocacy for women and minorities rights.
  • She co-founded the Women’s Political Caucus in 1971 and, in 1977, was the first Black woman to serve on the House Rules Committee.

Grace Lee Boggs

“We can begin by doing small things at the local level, like planting community gardens or looking out for our neighbors. That is how change takes place in living systems: not from above but from within, from many local actions occurring simultaneously.”

  • Social activist who started with tenets’ rights movements in Chicago and the Workers Party, eventually taking part in the March on Washington in 1941 and other movements for marginalized groups
  • Established Detroit Summer in 1992 as an effort to engage in grassroots community rebuilding in Detroit
  • Worked to establish conflict resolution curriculum for Detroit Public Schools in collaboration with the organization Save Our Sons and Daughters (SOSAD)

Marsha P. Johnson

“No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”

  • One of the prominent figures who took part in the Stonewall Uprising for LGBTQ+ Rights
  • Co-founded Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) to provide housing, clothing, and food to transgender youth with long-time friend Sylvia Rivera
  • Also advocated for decriminalizing sex work, people with AIDS, prison abolition, and creating safe spaces for homeless youth

Sylvia Rivera

“We have to be visible. We should not be ashamed of who we are.”

  • One of the pioneers of the Stonewall Uprising in support of LGBTQ+ rights and against police brutality
  • Co-founded the Gay Liberation Front and STAR with long-time friend Marsha P. Johnson

Laverne Cox

“We are not what other people say we are. We are who we know ourselves to be, and we are what we love.”

  • Black transgender American actress and LGBTQ+ advocate
  • Rose to prominence with her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black
  • Became the first openly transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in any acting category

Lana Condor

“It’s amazing to be yourself and people are going to love you if you just embrace who you are.”

  • American actress and singer
  • Originally trained as a ballet dancer in Chicago and New York
  • Adopted from Vietnam
  • Known best for role in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”

Robin Roberts

“Be patient and persistent. Life is not so much what you accomplish as what you overcome.”

  • News anchor for Good Morning America
  • Inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012 for her contributions to the sport through her broadcasting and play
  • Won the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2014
  • Inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2016
  • Radio Television Digital News Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient in 2018

Michelle Obama

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”

  • First African American First Lady of the United States of America
  • Led initiatives to advocate for healthy families, service members and their families, higher education, and adolescent girls education
  • Started the program Let’s Move, to help combat childhood obesity

Kamala Harris

“My mother had a saying: ‘You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last.'”

  • First female Vice-President of the United States
  • Highest ranking female US Official ever
  • The first Black and Indian woman to represent California in the Senate and as Vice President of the United States

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”

  • First female member of the Harvard Law Review and first female tenured teacher at Columbia
  • Director of the Woman’s Rights Project at the ACLU
  • Second Female Supreme Court Justice

Ida B Wells

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”

  • Wrote about sexism, racism, and violence as a famous 20th century journalist
  • Started a crusade to stop lynching throughout the south known as the antilynching crusade, throughout the 1890’s
  • An original co-founder of the NAACP and a historic political figure throughout the south.

Alice Walker

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

  • Famous novelist and short story writer.
  • Wrote the famous book and movie The Color Purple (1982)
  • First African American woman to win the Pulitzer prize and the National Book award in 1983