The seeds of Women’s History Month were planted in 1857 when women protested deplorable working conditions in New York factories. The most frequently cited precursor dates back to 1911, when Clara Zetkin organized the first International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day is still celebrated in March more than a century later.
Women’s History Month began in 1982 as Women’s History Week. In 1987 the celebration and recognition of women’s history and accomplishments was extended to a full month when Congress, prompted by the National Women’s History Project, passed Public Law 100-9.
Senator Barbara Mikulski (D – Maryland) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) jointly sponsored the 1981 Congressional Resolution that led to the first Women’s History Week.
Previous Women’s History Month themes include – Women: Builders of Communities and Dreams (2006); Writing Women Back into Our History (2010); and Our History is Our Strength (2011).
There are 18 Honorees for 2013; some are being honored posthumously. These women boast significant achievements in the fields of science and technology. The list includes Susan Solomon, an Atmospheric Chemist; Dian Fossey, a Primatologist and Naturalist, and Patricia Era Bath, an Ophthalmologist and Inventor.
Women’s History Month snapshot. According to the United States Census there are 204,973 women serving in the military. Of that number, 38,378 are officers. Median income for female earners 15 or older working full-time is $37,118. That number for men is $48,202. The number of stay at home moms - 5.1 million.
Canada celebrates Women’s History Month in October the same month they celebrate Persons Day. Their Women’s History Month themes include – Living History: Talk to Your Foremother about HERstory (1992); Women and War: Contributions and Consequences (2005) and Celebrating Immigrant Women in Canada (2007).
The U.S. theme for Women’s History Month 2013 is Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. This theme was chosen from over 100 ideas submitted to the National Women’s History Project. It was submitted by Debra Kolsrud of Johnstown, NY.
Even if you aren’t an honoree there is still reason to celebrate yourself and the women in your life during Women’s History Month. For example, the number of women owned businesses has topped 8 million with revenue of more than $1 trillion. That’s just one example of the infinite possibilities ahead. Find your foothold and keep climbing.