Women's History Month
Women's History Month is an annual declared month worldwide that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women's Day on March 8, and during October in Canada, corresponding with the celebration of Persons Day on October 18.
In the United States 
In the United States, Women's History Month traces its beginnings back to the first International Women's Day in 1911. In 1978, the school district of Sonoma, California, participated in Women's History Week, an event designed around the week of March 8th (International Women's Day). In 1981, responding to the growing popularity of the event, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and RepBarbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) co-sponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming a "Women's History Week." This week was well received, and soon after, schools across the country began to have their own local celebrations. The next year, leaders from the California group shared their project at the Women's History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. Other participants not only became determined to begin their own local Women's History Week projects, but also agreed to support an effort to have Congress declare a national Women's History Week.
In 1987 Congress expanded the focus to a whole month. Soon, other state departments of education began to encourage celebrations of National Women's History Month as a way to promote equality among the sexes in the classroom.
Maryland, Pennsylvania, Alaska, New York, Oregon and other states developed and distributed curriculum materials in all of their public schools, which prompted educational events such as essay contests. Within a few years, thousands of schools and communities got on the bandwagon of National Women's History Week. They planned engaging and stimulating programs about women's roles in history and society, with support and encouragement from governors, city councils, school boards, and the U.S. Congress.
Annual themes 
- 2010: "Writing Women Back into History"
- 2011: "Our History is Our Strength"
- 2012: "Women's Education – Women's Empowerment"
In Canada 
Women's History Month was proclaimed in Canada in 1992, where its purpose is to give Canadians "an opportunity to learn about the important contributions of women and girls to our society – and to the quality of our lives today". October was chosen to coincide with the celebration of the anniversary on October 18 of the decision of the court case Edwards v. Canada, more commonly known as the Persons Case, in which it was established that Canadian women were eligible to be appointed senators and in general had the same rights as Canadian men with respect to positions of political power.
In Australia 
Women's History Month was first celebrated in Australia in 2000, initiated by Helen Leonard, convenor of the National Women's Media Centre, working with the Women's Electoral Lobby. The organisation of annual Women's History Month celebrations is incorporated as part of the work of the Australian Women's History Forum.
Annual themes 
Since 2005, the annual celebration of Women's History Month in Australia has centred around a different area of women's achievement. Promotional materials and events are focused around the theme and organisations, institutions and community groups are encouraged to use this theme for their own events.
- 2013: Finding Founding Mothers
- 2012: Women with a Plan: architects, town planners and landscape architects
- 2011: Women in the Business of Food
- 2010: Demeter's Daughters: women’s harvest history
- 2009: Parliamentary Women
- 2008: Women with a Mission: Australian women contributing overseas
- 2007: Arm in Arm: Indigenous and non-Indigenous Women Working Together
- 2006: Musical Belles: Women in Music
- 2005: Celebrating Racy Women
Recent impact 
The popularity of women's history celebrations continues to spread as more people are becoming aware of the contributions of women and girls. A President's Commission on the Celebration of Women in History in America recently sponsored hearings in many parts of the country. The Women's Progress Commission will soon conduct hearings to promote interest in preserving areas that are relevant in American women's history. Some of the groups promoting this interest are state historical societies, women's organizations, and groups such as the Girl Scouts of the USA.
- Women's History Month in the United States
- International Women's Month in the United Kingdom
- Women's History Month in Canada
- Australian Women's History Forum incorporating Women’s History Month
- Archive of past Women's History Month websites in Australia from the Pandora Archive
||This article uses bare URLs for citations. (February 2013)|
- "Women's History Month". Status of Women Canada. Government of Canada. October 3, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
- Henrietta Muir Edwards and others (Appeal No. 121 of 1928) v The Attorney General of Canada (Canada)  UKPC 86,  AC 124. Accessed March 3, 2012.
- "Women’s History Month 2013", Australian Women's History Forum. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
- "Australian Women’s History Month 2012 poster". Australian Women's History Forum. January 22, 2012. Accessed March 4, 2012.
- Women's History Month 2011. Australian Women's History Forum. September 3, 2010. Archived by Pandora on April 14, 2011. Accessed March 4, 2012.
- NEW Women's History Month 2010. Australian Women's History Forum. July 30, 2009. Archived by Pandora on April 14, 2010. Accessed March 4, 2012.
- Women's History Month 2009. Australian Women's History Forum. October 19, 2008. Archived by Pandora on April 14, 2009. Accessed March 4, 2012.
- Women with a Mission. Australian Women's History Forum. August 13, 2007. Archived by Pandora on April 14, 2008. Accessed March 4, 2012.
- Women's History Month 2007. National Foundation for Australian Women. 2007. Archived by Pandora on April 5, 2007. Accessed March 4, 2012.
- Women's History Month 2006. National Foundation for Australian Women. March 7, 2006. Archived by Pandora on April 12, 2006. Accessed March 4, 2012.
- Women's History Month 2005. National Foundation for Australian Women. April 21, 2005. Archived by Pandora on August 5, 2005. Accessed March 4, 2012.