Submitted by Linda Wilson, BPW/California
In 1 911 the first International Women’s Day was designated as March 8th, but it was not until 1978 that the California Sonoma School District participated in a Women’s History Week, which included March 8th.
In 1979 there was a three-day conference at Sarah Lawrence College on women’s history. The attendees learned about the success of the Women’s History Week from the Sonoma School District. That conference provided the seed to start Women’s History Weeks around the country.
Excerpt from the BPW/Hollywood Susan B. Anthony award ceremony: Recipient Molly Murphy MacGregor, founder of the National Women’s History Alliance.
Five women, most of them teachers, campaigned for a Women's History Month to "write women back into history.” The leader of the five women, Molly Murphy MacGregor, was a 24-year-old high school history teacher in Santa Rosa, California, in 1972 when she couldn't find an answer in textbooks to answer a student's question about the women's movement.
In February 1980 President Jimmy Carter designated the first National Women’s History Week to include March 8th.
In 1987 the National Women’s History Project (now called the National Women’s History Alliance) petitioned Congress to designate March as Women’s History Month.
Since 1995 U.S. Presidents have issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as Women’s History Month.
President Biden’s proclamation for March 2022 reads in part –
“Every March, Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to honor the generations of trailblazing women and girls who have built our Nation, shaped our progress, and strengthened our character as a people.
Throughout our history, despite hardship, exclusion, and discrimination, women have strived and sacrificed for equity and equality in communities across the country.
Generations of Native American women were stewards of the land and continue to lead the fight for climate justice.
Black women fought to end slavery, advocate for civil rights, and pass the Voting Rights Act. Suffragists helped pass the 19th Amendment to the Constitution so that no American could be denied a vote on the basis of sex.
Standing on the shoulders of the heroines who came before them, today’s women and girls continue to carry forward the mission of ensuring our daughters have the same opportunities as our sons.
Women of the labor movement are achieving monumental reforms to help all workers secure the better pay, benefits, and safety they deserve. LGBTQI+ women and girls are leading the fight for justice, opportunity, and equality — especially for the transgender community.
Women and girls continue to lead groundbreaking civil rights movements for social justice and freedom, so that everyone can realize the full promise of America.
But despite the progress being made, women and girls — especially women and girls of color — still face systemic barriers to full participation and wider gaps in opportunity and equality.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated those disparities which have disproportionately impacted women’s labor force participation, multiplied the burden on paid and unpaid caregivers, and increased rates of gender-based violence.
The constitutional right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade is facing an unprecedented assault as States pass increasingly onerous restrictions to critical reproductive health care and bodily autonomy.
Workers contend with gender and racial wage gaps that can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars denied over the course of their lifetimes.
The Congress sent the Equal Rights Amendment to the States for ratification 50 years ago and it is long past time that the principle of women’s equality should be enshrined in our Constitution.
This Women’s History Month, as we reflect on the achievements of women and girls across the centuries and pay tribute to the pioneers who paved the way, let us recommit to the fight and help realize the deeply American vision of a more equal society where every person has a shot at pursuing the American dream.
In doing so, we will advance economic growth, our health and safety, and the security of our Nation and the world.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2022 as Women’s History Month.
I call upon all Americans to observe this month and to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2022, with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
I also invite all Americans to visit www.WomensHistoryMonth.gov to learn more about the vital contribution of women to our Nation’s history.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.”