The women who paved the way: Women’s History Month


Star Diavolikis, Senior Reporter

Women’s History Month starts in March, and many remarkable women deserve to be acknowledged in this month.

Before Women’s History Month was established, International Women’s Day was a day celebrated across many countries since 1911.

Many countries around the world celebrate the holiday with demonstrations, educational initiatives and customs such as presenting women with gifts and flowers,” said.

The United States has officially celebrated International Women’s Day since 1909, and the United Nations has been recognized for sponsoring International Women’s Day since 1977.

The concept of Women’s History Month originated in the 1970s. According to, an educational event in Santa Rosa, California was held in 1978 that inspired other areas to recognize women’s accomplishments. This eventually evolved to the Education Task Force of Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women to recognize a “Women’s History Week,” aligned with March 8 for the already-existing International Women’s Day.

As more and more communities began to recognize Women’s History Week, it inspired historians and women’s groups to advocate for national recognition.

President Jimmy Carter released a proclamation officially making the week of March 8 as Women’s History Week in 1980. According to, the proclamation was released on Feb. 28, 1980, where he said, “I ask my fellow Americans to recognize this heritage with appropriate activities during National Women’s History Week, March 2-8, 1980. I urge libraries, schools, and community organizations to focus their observances on the leaders who struggled for equality—Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul.”

Congress passed a resolution establishing a national celebration the next year, and six years later the celebration evolved into a recognized month-long celebration.

Looking back in history, there are many notable accomplishments women have made. One of the most notable women is Abigail Adams, who wrote a letter to her husband, Founding Father John Adams, which explained he should keep the women in mind when making decisions.

“Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation,” part of the letter read.

Another woman in history who deserves recognition was Susan B. Anthony. Inspired by the Quaker beliefs she was raised on, Anthony had previously advocated for women’s rights due to the belief of everyone being equal, according to After this, she formed and participated in the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Before joining the NWSA, Stanton had already participated in anti-slavery movements and advocated for women’s rights, including writing the document, “The Declaration of Sentiments.” According to, this document focused on the Declaration of Independence by “adding the word ‘woman’ or ‘women’ throughout.” After meeting Anthony, the women worked together on articles, books and wrote speeches together.

In August of 1920, ratification of the 19th Amendment was completed. Under the 19th Amendment, no woman can be denied to vote solely by her being female. This amendment is nicknamed the “Susan B. Anthony amendment,” which honors and recognizes her work.

In 1916, Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States in Brooklyn, NY. This clinic was considered illegal due to the “Comstock Laws,” which prohibited birth control. According to, ten days after opening this clinic, it was raided by police after the force sent an undercover female cop purchased birth control.

After closing two more times due to legal concerns, she permanently closed it and instead put focus on the American Birth Control League (ABCL), which started in 1921. The britannica website states the ABCL was an organization run by Sanger that advocated for the legalization of contraceptives in the USA, and promoted women’s reproductive rights and healthcare.