Column: National Women’s History Month


Photo credit: Azel Al-Kadiri

A woman’s silhouette faces the words National Women’s History Month. As we roll through the month of March, we celebrate the incredible achievements of women throughout history. This year, the National Women’s History Alliance honors the theme of “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” (Graphic Illustration by Azel Al-Kadiri)

By Azel Al-Kadiri, Columnist

Can you feel it in the air? The trees are beginning to blossom, and the smell of spring is looming under our noses. I love this time of year, when our jackets get pushed to the back of our closets, and uniform pants turn into black skirts. I’ve always thought that March has a type of beauty that’s hard to describe. It’s so much more than a change in season. 

March is also National Women’s History Month. 

Sandwiched in between Black History Month celebrated in February, and, April’s Easter fun, March’s 31 days are dedicated to the incredible achievements and contributions made by women throughout history. 

So, how did this critical month come to fruition? I’m so glad you asked!

Before Women’s History Month, the world had Women’s History Week. According to an article by the National Women’s History Museum, “Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a ‘Women’s History Week’ celebration in 1978. The organizers selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International Women’s Day. The movement spread across the country as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week celebrations the following year.” 

As an uprising of female celebration spread rapidly throughout the U.S, the incredible revolution led by historians, women’s groups and the National Women’s History Alliance, gained recognition across the country. The cause was powerful, and consequently, President Jimmy Carter “issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8th, 1980, as National Women’s History week.”

But it seemed that seven days was not long enough to celebrate the achievements of women’s history. 

In March of 1987, Congress finally passed a public law that distinguished March as “Women’s History Month.”  

The National Women’s History Alliance, previously known as The National Women’s History Project, is a nonprofit organization founded in 1985 that dedicates service to honoring the historical achievements of women. The group assigns a new theme to March every year. In 2021, the month’s theme was “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing To Be Silenced,” which celebrated women who tirelessly fought for women’s right to vote. In 2022, the theme was “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” which was a tribute to the frontline workers, medical staff and caregivers that provided healing to those throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This year, the theme is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.”

The National Women’s History Alliance writes, “Throughout 2023, the NWHA will encourage recognition of women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, and more. The timely theme honors women in every community who have devoted their lives and talents to producing art, pursuing truth, and reflecting the human condition decade after decade. From the earliest storytellers through pioneering journalists, our experiences have been captured by a wide variety of artists and teachers. These include authors, songwriters, scholars, playwrights, performers, and grandmothers throughout time.” 

The alliance is focused on highlighting the female narrators of our history. These storytellers connect us to the memories, lessons and moments that existed before our own. While we honor their past, they also teach us about our present world and remind us to continue working for an equitable future for women.

The words are beautiful and timeless. March’s theme makes me proud to be a female journalist and a graduating member of my all-women class. It’s a reminder to continue to use my own voice to celebrate the sisters, mothers, grandmothers and women throughout history who are remembered for their triumphs. 

Let’s continue to honor women’s history today, tomorrow and every day of the year. 

Happy Women’s History Month!