Women’s History Month is an annual observance. It takes place every March to recognize and celebrate the significant contributions and achievements of women throughout past. This month-long celebration honors the many women who have played crucial roles in shaping our society. Whether it be in science, politics, arts, culture, or any other field.
Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the ongoing struggles that women face and the need to continue working towards gender equality. It also serves as a reminder of the accomplishments of women who have broken barriers, defied stereotypes. And paved the way for future generations of women to achieve their full potentials.
During Women’s History Month, we honor and acknowledge the enduring contributions of strong women throughout time. While it is crucial to recognize women’s achievements throughout the year, Congress has designated one month annually. The purpose is to celebrate women and the sacrifices they made to promote a fairer and safer society.
“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.” ― Jane Austen.
When Women’s History Month started?
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter established the first Presidential Proclamation designating the week of March 8th as National Women’s History Week.
However, the origins of Women’s History Month date back to the early 20th century when suffragists fought for women’s right to vote.
Women’s History Month is observed every year in March, with a focus on honoring the contributions and accomplishments of women throughout history. The celebration originally began as Women’s Day on February 28, 1909. As a commemoration of the first anniversary of a garment workers’ strike led by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union in Manhattan.
The event was organized by a group of socialists and suffragists, who held the meeting on a Sunday to avoid interfering with work schedules. The idea of a dedicated day to honor women gained momentum over the years. And in March 1910, German activist Clara Zetkin proposed that International Women’s Day be recognized as a global holiday at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. All 17 countries represented at the conference agreed to the proposal.
The first Women’s History Week
As we said, in the United States, the first Women’s History Week was celebrated in March 1980. President Jimmy Carter issued a proclamation declaring the week of March 8th as National Women’s History Week. In 1987, Congress officially designated March as Women’s History Month. And each year since then, the president has issued a proclamation to honor the contributions of women to American history and society.
The theme for Women’s History Month changes each year. Recent themes are “Valiant Women of the Vote” in 2020. “Nevertheless She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women” in 2018, and “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment” in 2017. The month is also an opportunity to highlight the ongoing struggle for gender equality and to celebrate the achievements of women around the world.
International Women’s Day was first recognized by Europeans on March 18, 1911.
However, in the United States, Women’s Day was observed on the last Sunday of February until the 1970s. Prior to the establishment of Women’s History Month, some Americans had already been celebrating Women’s Day for several years.
During Women’s History Month, we honor the contributions of strong women from both the past and present. Although it’s crucial to celebrate women throughout the year, Congress has designated one month annually. The purpose is to acknowledge the sacrifices made by women to promote gender equality, safety, and fairness in our country and the world.
Through this month-long celebration, people can participate in various local events, support businesses founded by women, or express gratitude towards women who have made a difference in their lives. Such as mothers, grandmothers, sisters, teachers, bosses, mentors, and others.
Something similar to what happens in Black History Month.
To fully appreciate Women’s History Month, it is important to mark some significant dates on your calendar. While celebrations take place throughout March, several dates hold particular significance.
Women’s History Month: the importance of March 8
International Women’s Day continues to be observed on March 8 every year. On March 13, 1913, over 8,000 women gathered in Washington, D.C., for the Women’s Suffrage Parade, demanding a constitutional amendment guaranteeing their right to vote. The Senate passed the Equal Rights Amendment on March 22, 1972, marking another important milestone in women’s history.
Women’s History Month today
Every year in March, Women’s History Month is celebrated in the U.S. and other parts of the world to acknowledge the significant contributions of women in society.
The exclusion and lack of recognition of women’s contributions to history was criticized by feminists in the 1970s. They campaigned for the inclusion of women in history school curriculum and other aspects. Such as representations of our national history, public documents like stamps and currency, and portraiture.
Colors in Women’s History Month
In commemoration of the women who have led the way and continue to do so, the month of March is now associated with the colors purple, green, and white.
The impact of colors on human emotions and behavior is a subject of study in psychology.
They acquire symbolic and cultural meanings over time, which may vary from individual to individual, be culturally determined, or have a universal application.
Regarding Women’s History Month, the use of white to evoke a positive mood. Purple to induce a calming and inspiring effect. And green to elicit feelings of harmony and renewal, creates a harmonious and dynamic representation.
These colors represent the suffrage movement. Purple signifies dignity, green represents hope, and white represents purity. Knowing the history and symbolism behind these hues can deepen our appreciation for the month-long celebration.
These colors have historical significance in the suffrage movement in England. Specifically as the colors of the Women’s Suffrage and Political Union (WSPU) since the early 1900s. American suffragists who worked with the WSPU brought these colors to the United States. These were first adopted for Women’s History Month in 1978 and have since, become a nationwide.
The colors of Women’s History Month and their meanings have evolved over time
Initially, white represented purity and equality. Which was crucial to counter the anti-suffragists’ smear tactics that portrayed suffragists as loose or immoral women. However, its symbolic meaning has shifted to focus on its associations with equality, truth, and freedom. It is also calming and uplifting and leaves the mind open to possibility.
Green symbolizes hope, new beginnings, and growth. And it is associated with nature. Indeed, it has deep positive roots due to its association with nature’s cycle of new growth, rebirth, and harmony, and the hope of these new beginnings.
Purple, recognized internationally as the color of women and gender equality. It stands for justice and dignity and signifies visionary thinking. It is a beautiful mixture of red and blue. Which may have a calming and inspiring effect on the body and mind.
The use of gold as a favored color among American suffragists was inspired by their defeat in the Kansas suffrage campaign of 1867. The campaigners chose the sunflower, which is the state flower of Kansas as emblem. And the bright gold hue of the sunflower was viewed as a symbol of optimism. American suffragists combined this golden hue with the purple and white colors used by the suffrage movement in the UK.
The Bottom Line
Celebrating International Women’s Day is crucial in recognizing the countless contributions of women throughout history and in promoting gender equality. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the ongoing struggle for women’s rights, as well as to celebrate the progress that has been made.
By highlighting the achievements of women and advocating for gender equity, we can create a more just and equal world for all. Therefore, it is important to continue to commemorate this day. And also to work towards a future to fully recognize and value women’s contributions.
So, in March, as you devote yourself to self-care, feel free to accessorize with purple, white, green, and even gold to celebrate Women’s History Month!