As many know, March is recognized as Women's History Month in the United States. When you hear this phrase, I think most people understand that it is a month dedicated to celebrating females and their contributions to society.
And when I think of celebrating women, I do take time to reflect and acknowledge the challenging road that it has been for women all over the world. I hear the questions and concerns in my conversations with women leaders that I coach. And guess what? There isn't an answer that can be described as "one size fits all".
Instead, I choose to celebrate the progress that has happened and continues to occur. We see trailblazers in different fields that would not have been possible years ago. We see partnerships and collaborators helping and supporting one another. We see initiatives that have catalyzed actions to change from how it has always been done. We see endless possibilities regarding professions for women that have disrupted our biases. We see that there is progress and we need to continue.
So, how much do we really know about the history behind this month?
HISTORY OF WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH:
Women's History Month actually started out as Women's History Week. The celebration originated in Santa Rosa, California as a local celebration in this specific city. A group called, "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 week of March 8th was chosen to correspond with International Women's Day.
This sparked a movement that spread like wildfire across different communities and eventually across the country. The next year, many other communities had their own Women's History week celebrations.
In 1980, several women's groups, led by the National Women's History Alliance (known then as the National Women's History Project) lobbied for national recognition and succeeded.
President Jimmy Carter officially declared the week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women's History Week in February of 1980.
Now that you know a little more about the origin and history of this month, consider the women in your sphere. What is one simple step you can take to acknowledge, support and/or be that ally for them?