March, as Women’s History Month, is a time to celebrate and recognize the accomplishments of women. Ever since Congress passed a resolution in 1987, Americans have taken this month to focus on women in history.
Jone Johnson Lewis wrote on About.com that Women’s History Month is when we “take one month of the year to remember the contributions of notable and ordinary women, in hopes that the day will soon come when it’s impossible to teach or learn history without remembering these contributions.”
Lewis said it all began almost a century ago in Europe with International Women’s Day (March 8).
Inspired by an American commemoration of working women, the German socialist Klara Zetkin organized International Women’s Day, according to an article by Borgna Brunner on InfoPlease.com. That was in 1911, and today the United Nations sponsors the annual event, which generally takes on causes of peace and women’s rights.
Prior to 1970, women’s history was rarely—if ever—studied, Brunner wrote. But today almost every college offers women’s history courses and most graduate programs offer doctrinal degrees in the field.
The women’s movement of the 1960s played a large role in drawing attention to women’s issues.
“Without question, our first inspiration was political,” historian Carroll Smith-Rosenberg once said. “Aroused by feminist charges of economic and political discrimination … we turned to our history to trace the origins of women’s second-class status.”
And now, every March is recognized as Women’s History month—a time for schools and communities to plan events and projects surrounding women’s issues. The president even makes a proclamation each year in honor of this special month.
The 2000 U.S. Census showed that women accounted for 143.4 million of the population, exceeding the number of men (138.1 million).
As of the same year, 30 percent of women, ages 25-29, were college graduates, which was greater than the 28 percent of their male counterparts. The census indicated that young women also had higher high school completion rates (89 percent) than men (87 percent). And in 2000 the majority of college students were women (56 percent). In fact, women have represented the majority of college students since 1979.
Women are strong in numbers, and the hope is that as they continue to grow in accomplishments and successes in the future that the world will readily embrace their memorable past contributions.