History months serve two purposes. The first is to celebrate the accomplishments and victories pioneered by a demographic of people. The second purpose is to create awareness of the inequalities and injustices that still need to be addressed. As Black History Month, which is annually observed during the month of February, comes to a close, Women’s History month must now continue the momentum of combatting the erasure of history.
The origin of Women’s History Month traces back to California. In March of 1978, the Sonoma County Educational Task Force made strides to incorporate women’s history into the curriculum with a “women’s history week celebration.” Sonoma County chose the week of Mar. 8 as the eighth was already an existing holiday: International Women’s Day. Many communities and organizations caught wind of Sonoma County’s success and began celebrating women’s history week as well. Women’s History Week became so popular that in Feb. 1980, President Carter issued a proclamation, officially recognizing the week of Mar. 8 as “Women’s History Week.”
As the popularity of Women’s History week continued to spread, in 1987, Congress would officially declare March as Women’s History Month. According to CNN, besides International Women’s Day, the month of March holds the dates of several other significant milestones in female history.
Despite the many glass ceilings shattered throughout history, the fight for equal rights is a battle that women around the world are still continuing to fight. Globally, many women are still fighting for equal rights, access to education, equal employment opportunities, reproductive healthcare/health rights. Equality movements around the world are also fighting to combat issues such as gender-based violence, domestic violence, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, and arranged marriage.
Although March is Women’s History Month, the celebration of female accomplishment should be year-round because of their significance in history and the contributions they’ve made to society. The month of March must be utilized to continue creating dialogues for the pressing social issues and we must actively continue seeking ways to make the world a more inclusive place for women.