Club Chronicles: Women’s History Month provides occasion to honor women’s extensive contributions
March is designated as Women’s History Month, set aside to honor women’s contributions in American history going back to the founding of the United States.
Women’s History Month grew out of a week-long celebration by the school district of Sonoma, California, in 1978. Women’s contributions made throughout history in science, politics, sports, the arts, culture and many other fields were recognized. The idea caught on within communities and organizations across the country.
In 1980 President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. In 1987 the National Women’s History Alliance successfully petitioned Congress to designate the entire month of March as Women’s History Month.
U.S. presidents have issued annual proclamations of the celebration since 1995.
International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women, took place for the first time March 8, 1911. Many countries around the world celebrate the holiday with demonstrations, educational initiatives and customs such as presenting women with gifts and flowers.
The United Nations has sponsored International Women’s Day since 1975.
Founded in 1984, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs Headquarters in Washington houses its own Women’s History and Resource Center, which collects, preserves, interprets and promotes the history of women volunteers.
It offers access to readily-available reference services, an online research catalog, educational programs and publications, creative exhibits and dynamic partnerships to all those interested in using its resources. The WHRC Newsletter is also available for complimentary subscription, along with other publications to assist and promote clubs doing projects related to GFWC history or historic preservation.
In recognition of Women’s History Month, GFWC highlights women for their accomplishments and achievements. Special focus is placed on women who have been featured on postage stamps. Here are some of the famous women honored by GFWC:
• In 1907, Pocahontas became the first Native American to be featured on a stamp.
• In 1978, Harriet Tubman was memorialized.
• In 2001, Frida Kahlo became the first Hispanic woman to be honored.
• Clara Barton was founder and first president of the American Red Cross.
• Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean.
• Eleanor Roosevelt, an American diplomat, writer, social reformer and First Lady to Franklin D. Roosevelt, was a leading activist for women and the poor.
Here are some ways to celebrate Women’s History Month:
• Get familiar with current women’s issues.
• Read and share works by women authors.
• Donate to charities that center around women’s causes.
• Attend virtual events celebrating women.
• Amplify women musicians.
• Watch TV shows and films produced and directed by women.
• Watch documentaries that explore women’s issues.