Latest News & Current Events

March is Women's History Month

Women's History Month traces its beginnings back to the first International Women's Day in 1911. In 1978, the school district of Sonoma, California participated in Women's History Week, an event designed around the week of March 8 (International Women's Day). In 1979 a fifteen-day conference about women's history was held at Sarah Lawrence College from July 13th until July 29th, chaired by historian Gerda Lerner.  It was co-sponsored by Sarah Lawrence College, the Women's Action Alliance, and the Smithsonian Institution. When its participants learned about the success of the Sonoma County's Women's History Week celebration, they decided to initiate similar celebrations within their own organizations, communities, and school districts. They also agreed to support an effort to secure a National Women's History Week.

In February of 1980 President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8th, 1980, as National Women's History Week. The proclamation stated, "From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well. As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, 'Women’s History is Women’s Right.' It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision".

In 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week." Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as "Women’s History Week." In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month."

Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” 

Women's History Month reception in the East Room of the White House on 18 March 2013.

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum all join in paying tribute to the generations of women whose commitment to nature and the planet have proved invaluable to society.

2014 Event Highlights

  • March 1
    Women’s History Month Family Day
    A day of music, hands-on activities and more.
    (National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution)

  • March 4
    Women’s History Program
    The Law Library of Congress will host a discussion with former U.S. Rep. Patricia Schroeder.
    (Library of Congress)

  • March 13
    7th Annual Forum on Women in Leadership: Women in Congressional Leadership
    A panel of five former Congressional Representatives and Senators discusses their personal journeys and advice they would offer to young women entering the field.
    (National Archives)

  • March 20
    Concert
    The Washington Women in Jazz Festival Quintet will showcase the music of Melba Liston, one of the great American jazz trombonists.
    (American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution)

  • March 20
    Open House
    The Rare Book and Special Collections Division will have an Open House with a curatorial display of works written, illustrated, and collected by women entitled Celebrating Creative Women: A Curator's Choices.
    (Library of Congress)

  • View More Events at the Library of Congress

  • View More Events at the National Archives

  • View More Events at the National Gallery of Art

  • View More Events at the Smithsonian

Or visit the Official Women's History Month site


See more in the 'Latest News & Current Events' section

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