What is Women’s History Month?


Jonathan Hernandez Morales

A protestor's sign at the annual Women's March in downtown Phoenix on Jan. 19, 2019.

Mar. 1 marked the beginning of Women’s History Month, a national month-long recognition of women’s narratives and their contributions to society.

Women have gained so much in the past few decades and centuries. Women were first allowed to own land in 1839 in Mississippi, and first allowed to vote in 1920. However, all these accomplishments are relatively new, especially when contrasted against a timeline of male progress.

Despite a more even playing field in the modern world, women still feel the echoes of misogyny. ASU sophomore and NROTC Midshipman Morgan Kurtz noted differences in how women are treated today.

“Something that really frustrates me is unrealized biases. One of our higher ups in my unit will tell the guys to stop talking when they’re chatting during warmups, but he’ll yell at the females and completely separate us. That just breeds more bias because that’s noticed by everyone else and then they notice it more and so on. Even if we’re doing the same thing as males, we get targeted for it,” Kurtz said.

Started in 1987 by the Socialist Party in New York City under the name of ‘Women’s Day,” the then-unofficial holiday acknowledged the one-year anniversary of a strike organized by garment workers whom rallied for equal rights and a 10-hour work day. According to the National Women’s History Project, this later grew into “Women’s History Week” in the 1970s when it was commandeered by U.S. feminists attempting to combat erasure of women’s history in textbooks.

According to the site for the National Women’s History Alliance Organization, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of Mar. 8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week.

“From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well,” Carter said.

Women have had to endure the likes of racism and misogyny for decades, combatting sexual, domestic, and verbal abuse. Similarly, women such as Harriet Tubman, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Yalitza Aparici0 —infamous for being the first woman to lead an armed assault during the American Civil War, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, and the first indigenous woman nominated for a “Best Actress” Oscar—have become immortalized in the history of our country for their unsurmountable feats. This served as the driving force behind holidays such as this.