Congress first recognized March as National Women's History Month in 1987. Since that time, Congress has continued to promote Women's History Month as a way to reflect on and celebrate women's heritage.
The establishment of Women's History Month resulted from the efforts of a group of citizens who were concerned that women's history was virtually an unknown topic in both academic education and public life. They successfully petitioned Congress in 1980 to enact a National Women's History Week. Within the next seven years, thousands of schools and communities were celebrating Women's History Week. The surge of popularity, supported by resolutions from governors, city councils, school boards, and the U.S. Congress, led to the expansion of Women' History Week to a celebration which lasts throughout the entire month of March.
This year's theme for Women's History Month, "Women Builders of Communities and Dreams," honored the contributions of women who provide the solid foundation for families and create strong communities. Women have always played fundamental roles in society as nurturers, leaders, supporters, and providers. This year we honored great leaders of the past such as Harriot Eaton Stanton Blatch and her mother, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Alice Paul. These extraordinary women devoted their lives to achieving equal rights for women within their communities and across the nation.
It is important for our nation's citizens, male and female alike, to understand the struggles and accomplishments of these women. Understanding women's history not only deepens factual knowledge, it expands perspectives, promotes understanding between the sexes, and gives girls a greater sense of possibility and the confidence to achieve their dreams.
These great women of the past blazed the trail for female leaders to follow. Of the over 140 million women living in the United States today, 85.4 percent over the age of 25 have a high school diploma, 31 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 29 hold a bachelor's degree, and 65 percent voted in the last presidential election. In each of these categories, women have outperformed their counterparts. Additionally, 6.5 million women in the United States own their own businesses, 212,000 women currently serve on active duty in the military, 2.9 million females competed in high school sports and 162, 752 women participated in collegiate athletics during the 2003-2004 school year.
As new opportunities have been given to them, women young and old have embraced and conquered them. Increased access to areas and activities once forbidden has led to meritorious achievement and accomplishment. Women's History Month is about remembering the sacrifices and celebrating the accomplishments of women past and present. Do not forget to thank the women in your life for the positive role they have played.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition