Women’s history celebrated in March

Amelia Symons, Staff Writer

Since a decision made by Congress in 1987, March has been celebrated every year as Women’s History Month. March is the month the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia celebrate Women’s History Month because of the correspondence of International Women’s Day on March 8; however, Canada celebrates in October because Persons Day falls on October 18. At first, Women’s History Month was not a month-long celebration; it began only as Women’s History Week in 1982 with the help of Gerda Lerner and former President Jimmy Carter. 

Each year, Women’s History Month is given a theme by the National Women’s History Alliance. The theme for 2021 is “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to be Silenced,” piggybacking off of 2020’s theme of “Valiant Women of the Vote.” These themes coincide with the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage being granted, which was allowed with the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920, after women fought for the voting rights for over a century. 

In countries where a Women’s History Week or Women’s History Month is not celebrated, they still do take the time to celebrate the valiant and underheard women. In Ukraine, the Gender Museum hosts multiple events in honor of women’s history. In Russia, a group of volunteers at the Women’s Museum in Moscow devote an entire month to spreading knowledge on women’s history virtually. 

Women’s History Month is a month completely devoted to reflect on the sometimes overlooked contributions that have been made by women in history. People from Susan B. Anthony to Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Clara Barton, Margaret Hamilton, Sandra Day O’Connor, Madeleine Albright, Sojourner Truth, Abigail Adams, and Marie Curie are celebrated during this time. 

For the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, International Women’s Day falls in their month-long celebration of women and their contributions to society. More countries than those listed celebrate this day, March 8, with educational initiatives, gift giving, and appreciation demonstrations. International Women’s Day has been sponsored by the United Nations since 1975, when they made a statement to the General Assembly explaining the importance of a day solely focused on the women who have shaped our world by saying, “To recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women; and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.”

There are many ways people can celebrate and show their support for Women’s History Month. For those who like to read, a few books that play a role in women’s history are Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. For those into movies and documentaries, some that highlight women’s history include RGB, Hidden Figures, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, and Knock Down the House. There are also fundraising opportunities and organizations one could donate to in order to show support. Some of these include Girls Inc., Women for Women International, and Ultraviolet, as well as any local organizations.