Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Women's History Month

Women's History Month

Women's History Month: Celebrate Herstory

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). Women’s History Month was first recognized as a national celebration in 1981 when the US Congress passed legislation authorizing President Reagan to proclaim the week of March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987, the National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress for a month-long designation. Since 1995, the President has issued a series of proclamations designating March as “Women’s History Month. The theme for 2021 is  Valiant Women of the Vote, which honors “the women who fought to win suffrage rights for women and for the continued fight for voting rights of others.”​ Learn more
Sources: US Government site, National Women’s History Museum, & 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

Zitkala-Ša (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin)

Zitkala-Ša (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin)

One of the most outspoken voices raised on behalf of Native Americans during the early twentieth century was that of Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, a granddaughter of the famous Sioux chief Sitting Bull. As a writer, she produced a number of essays and short stories that established her as a significant figure in Native American literature. Her enduring legacy, however, is that of a reformer and activist devoted to improving the lives of Native Americans. Full Bio

Ida B. Wells

Ida B. Wells

Wells wrote blistering essays critiquing the government’s continued denial of lynching as terrorism and the disconnect she saw between African-American public intellectuals, such as Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. DuBois, and the community at large. Broadening her activism to include women’s suffrage, Wells-Barnett became one of the founding members of the National Association of Colored Women in 1896. 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

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

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

Recommended Books & Ebooks

The Women's Suffrage Movement
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower
A Fighting Chance
Men Explain Things to Me
Deconstructing Privilege : Teaching and Learning As Allies in the Classroom
Are All the Women Still White? : Rethinking Race, Expanding Feminisms
Thinking Kink : The Collision of BDSM, Feminism and Popular Culture
In Search of Belonging : Latinas, Media, and Citizenship
The Beyonce Effect : Essays on Sexuality, Race and Feminism
Gender Inequality in Metal Music Production
Asian American Feminisms and Women of Color Politics
The Crunk Feminist Collection

Women's History Films

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.

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?

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.”

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.”

Additional Resources

League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters in the United States encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Women of Color and the Fight for Women's Suffrage

Links to exhibits, articles, videos, and timelines as well as a small snapshot of some of the suffragist heroines we don’t always get to see or celebrate.

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.

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.

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 Lemonade Syllabus

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

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.

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.