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Women's History Month

Hands holding signs that read: Women's History Month

Women’s History month began in 1978, as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California, when the Education Task Force of Sonoma County planned a week-long event to coincide with March 8th (International Women’s Day). This event inspired other communities across the United States to plan their own Women’s History Week celebrations.

Women’s History Month was first recognized as a national celebration in 1981 when the U.S. Congress passed legislation Pub. L. 97-28 authorizing President Reagan to proclaim the week of March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” The next five years saw Congress pass joint resolutions naming a week in March as “Women’s History Week,” but in 1987, the National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress for a month-long designation. Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to annually proclaim March as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, the President has issued a series of proclamations designating March as “Women’s History Month.”

The National Women’s History Alliance selects and publicizes the yearly theme; for 2019, it is Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Non-violence, which honors “women who have led efforts to end war, violence, and injustice and pioneered the use of nonviolence to change society.”​ More info...

Sources: womenshistorymonth.gov, National Women’s History Museum, & The National Women’s History Alliance


Famous Women

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde was a black lesbian feminist poet, civil rights activist, and librarian whose work explored what it meant to be a black woman in America. Her poetry “bravely confronted some of the most important crises in American society."  Full Bio

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani human rights activist leading a global movement to ensure free, quality education for young girls. In 2014, she was the youngest person to ever be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.  Full Bio

Rachel Morrison

Rachel Morrison

Rachel Morrison is a cinematographer whose projects include Black Panther, Mudbound, Cake, Dope, and Fruitvale Station. She is the first woman and first lesbian to be nominated for an Academy Award for Cinematography. Full Bio

Ellen Ochoa

Ellen Ochoa

Raised in San Diego, Dr. Ellen Ochoa is an American scientist and astronaut, and the first Latinx director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. She became an astronaut in 1990 and became the first Latina to go to space in 1993. Full Bio

Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri Kochiyama was a Japanese American activist who worked for equal rights for African Americans, Puerto Rican independence, an end to the Vietnam War, and reparations for Japanese Americans placed in internment camps. Full Bio

Maria Tallchief

Maria Tallchief

Maria Tallchief was a renowned ballet dancer, becoming the first prima ballerina of the New York City Ballet, and the first Native American woman to hold that title. She helped popularize ballet in 1954 as the Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. Full Bio


Women's History Books

This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color
The Feminist Utopia Project: Fifty-Seven Visions of a Wildly Better Future
Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America
Woman World
Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger
The Lesbian South: Southern Feminists, the Women in Print Movement, and the Queer Literary Canon
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life
Unladylike: A Field Guide to Smashing the Patriarchy and Claiming Your Space
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower
Why I March: Images from The Women’s March Around the World
The Crunk Feminist Collection
Bad Feminist

Women's History Films

I Was a Teenage Feminist

I Was a Teenage Feminist

Why is it that some young, independent, progressive women in today’s society feel uncomfortable identifying with the F-word? Filmmaker Therese Schecter uses irreverent humor to explore whether feminism can still be a source of personal and political power in today’s society.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present

Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present

This film follows Marina Abramovic as she prepares for a retrospective of her work at the Museum of Modern Art. Seductive, fearless, and outrageous, Abramovic has been redefining what art is for over 40 years. Using her own body as a vehicle, pushing herself beyond her limits and at times risking her life in the process, she creates performances that have challenge, shock, and move us.

A Thousand Mothers: Buddhist Nuns in Myanmar

A Thousand Mothers: Buddhist Nuns in Myanmar

“Set in an ancient nunnery above the majestic Irrawaddy River, this film is an unprecedented look at the lives of Buddhist nuns in Sagaing, Myanmar. While the choices available to girls and women in Myanmar are quite limited...this film reveals the opportunities offered to them at the nunnery, and the deep grace and dignity of a life dedicated to service.”

Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay

As a quiet child of Haitian immigrants, Roxane Gay transcended all expectations and     became a leading voice in the modern feminist movement with her essay collection, Bad     Feminist. But how did she transform a painful childhood into a powerful battle cry and a successful career that would end up helping women around the world?

Driving with Selvi: The Story of India’s First Female Taxi Driver

Driving with Selvi: The Story of India’s First Female Taxi Driver

Resisting a violent and abusive marriage, Selvi embarks on a journey to become India’s first female taxi driver. This film tracks Selvi’s 10-year transformation from a timid, soft-spoken 18-year old to a confident entrepreneur leading seminars to empower and educate other women.

Young Lakota

Young Lakota

This documentary follows “Cecilia Fire Thunder, the first female President of the Oglala Sioux tribe [as she defies] a proposed South Dakota law criminalizing all abortion by threatening to build a women’s clinic on the sovereign territory of the reservation. Her threats ignite a political firestorm that sets off a chain reaction in the lives of three young Lakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation, forcing each of them to make choices that define who they are and what kind of adults they will become.”


Additional Resources

National Women's History Museum

The NWHM is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational institution dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and celebration of the diverse contributions women have made to society.

Office of the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian (UW-Madison)

One of the premier resources for support of gender, women’s studies, and LGBT studies scholarship.

Women's Media Center

A progressive, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to raise the visibility, viability, and decision-making power of women and girls in media.

The Feminist Art Project

A portal to unique educational resources that utilize feminist art practice, theory, and history to enrich learning and empower students, youth, and adults to use critical thinking and build self-esteem.

The Lemonade Syllabus

A bibliography of readings by Black poets, writers, and other scholars to help unpack Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s Lemonade visual album.

Women's Liberation Movement Print Culture

Manifestos, speeches, essays, and other materials documenting various aspects of the Women’s Movement in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s.