How did March become Women’s History Month? How did this come about? According to the National Women’s History Museum, Women’s History Month started as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, Calif. The education task force of Sonoma County in 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 celebration the following year.
In 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians led by The National Women’s History Project, now known as The National Women’s Alliance, successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation, which made the week of March 8, National Women’s History Week. “From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first Indian American families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often, the women are unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women that built America is as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well,” Jimmy Carter said while designating March 2 through March 8 as Women’s History Week.
Subsequent presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week in March until 1987 when Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as Women’s History Month. Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the president to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, each president has issued an annual proclamation designating the month of March as Women’s History Month.