In 1977, when the women who would establish the National Women’s History Project began planning a women’s history week, March 8th, International Women’s Day, was chosen as the focal date.
The selection was based on wanting to ensure that the celebration of women’s history would include a multicultural perspective, an international connection between and among all women, and the recognition of women as significant in the paid workforce.
United States women’s history became the primary focus of the curriculum and resources developed. At that time, there were no school districts in the country teaching women’s history. The goal, although it most often seemed a dream, was to first impact the local schools, then the nation, and finally the world. It is a dream that is becoming a reality.
Women’s History Week, always the week that included March 8th, became National Women’s History Week in 1981 and in 1987 National Women’s History Week became National Women’s History Month. The expansion from local to national and from week to month was the result of a lobbying effort that included hundreds of individuals and dozens of women’s, educational, and historical organizations. It was an effort mobilized and spearheaded by the National Women’s History Project.
National Women’s History Month is now recognized throughout the world. Women from Germany, China, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan, Russia, the Ukraine, and diverse African nations have visited the National Women’s History Project’s office or attended their events. One result from this contact has been the establishment of a women’s history program and museum in the Ukraine. 1989 The National Women’s History Project accepted an invitation from the government of Spain to address an international women’s conference on the importance of women’s history and the impact of National Women’s History Month. In 2001 a sistership with the Working Women’s Institute of Japan was established resulting in the National Women’s History’s posters and display sets being featured in the organizations first exhibit.
The National Women’s History Project’s website reaches the global community. They receive emails from individuals throughout the world. Each year hundreds of National Women’s History Month posters are distributed to military bases and Department of Defense schools throughout the world for special programs and events that celebrate and recognize women’s accomplishments. It is the hope of the National Women’s History Project that the celebrations at these different venues will ignite a sense of celebration and recognition that honors women of all nations.
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