March is hailed as Women's History Month. Since 1987, it's been celebrated annually in the United States and many other countries, including Australia. In addition, March was chosen as the month of women to coincide with International Women's Day, which falls on March 8th.
Why do We Celebrate Women's History Month?
The celebration of Women's History Month grew out of a week-long celebration of contributions made by women in many areas organized by the school district of Sonoma, California, in 1978. Dozens of schools gave presentations, hundreds of students participated in a "Real Woman" essay contest, and the city of Santa Rosa held a parade through its downtown.
Years later, the idea continued nationwide in schools, communities, and organizations. Finally, in 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared National Women's History Week the week of March 8th. Six years later, Congress expanded the event to the entire month of March.
2023 National Woman's History Month Theme
Each year, the National Women's History Alliance designates a theme for March. This year's theme is "Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories."
This month will recognize women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of storytelling from radio, TV, print, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, and so much more. This theme seeks to honor women in every community who have devoted their lives and talents to producing art, pursuing truth, and reflecting the human condition.
From the earliest female storytellers through pioneering journalists, the experiences of women have been captured by an array of artists and teachers. These include songwriters, scholars, authors, performers, playwrights, and even our very own grandmothers. Women have been instrumental in passing our heritage from one generation to the next in print and word. They have been vital in communicating the lessons and values of those who came before us. These stories are the larger human story. They expand our understanding and strengthen our connections with one another.
How Can You Celebrate?
Support women-owned businesses: Purchase products from women-owned businesses. Supporting women entrepreneurs is a great way to help promote gender equality. There are many great products available from businesses run by women. Find one or several that you love and show your support.
Attend women-centered events: Many organizations host events to celebrate International Women's Day. Whether it's a networking event, a rally, or a panel discussion, attending an event allows you to learn more about the issues that matter to women and meet others who share that passion.
Educate yourself: Take the time to learn about women's history and the accomplishments of women in different fields. Read, attend lectures, and watch documentaries. Listen to the women that you surround yourself with. Hearing stories from other women is a powerful way to learn about challenges that women face, how they are fighting, or even how they have overcome them.
Celebrate the women in your life: Breakfast, lunch, or dinner – it doesn't matter. Grab your aunt, cousin, mom, granny, friend, or colleague, and go out. Spend one-on-one time with the women that made you who you are. Send a note of appreciation. Reconnect and remind them how much they mean to you.
Volunteer: Support women-focused organizations. These organizations work to empower women and young girls. Volunteer your time or resources. This could include women's shelters, health clinics, or organizations promoting women's education. This is a great way to show support and make a difference in the lives of other women.
Wear purple: On March 8th, many women will be seen wearing purple. Purple is the color of feminism. Wear something purple to support women's contributions every day to the world.
No matter how you choose to celebrate National Women's Month and International Women's Day, it's important to remember that it's an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women around the world. Women have come a long way, but there is still much more to achieve. So let's celebrate National Women's Month by telling our stories and the stories of those before us and working together to create a brighter future for all women.
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