In March, we celebrate women—those who inspire, heal, compete, entertain, create, protect, discover, rule, lead, or break barriers. Some might be a household name; others might be relatively unknown. Yet all women have shared the struggle for rights and recognition for many years, a fact that many libraries, schools, and communities have begun to promote the achievements of women.
The significance of the month of March dates to the mid-19th century when, on March 8, 1857, a group of female garment workers in New York City staged a protest to demand better working conditions and pay. Police aggressively halted the demonstration, but several years later the determined women formed their own union. In 1911, March 19 was observed as International Women’s Day (IWD) to acknowledge women’s continuing struggle for recognition and rights. The date of IWD was changed to March 8 in 1921.
In 1978 the schools of Sonoma county, California, named March Women’s History Month as a means of examining women’s history, issues, and contributions. The idea gained momentum, and in 1981 a congressional resolution proclaimed the week surrounding March 8 National Women’s History Week.
In 1986 the National Women’s History Project played a significant role in the expansion of the observance to the entire month of March.
To celebrate the achievements of women, we’ve created three lessons for Women’s History. Feel free to share these with your friends and colleagues!
Lesson 1: Sacagawea
Reading and Thinking Strategies for Social Studies
Lesson 2: Sally Ride: Breaking Barriers
Different Authors—Different Styles
Lesson 3: Women’s Suffrage: A Reader’s Theater