Women’s History Month is now celebrated in the United States, the UK, and Australia in March, coordinating with International Women’s Day on March 8, and in October in Canada. In this country, its origins go back to the first International Women's Day in 1911. It wasn’t until 1980 that President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation that the week of March 8 would be National Women's History Week. It was later voted in with a Joint Congressional Resolution in 1982 but grew even further, as by 1986 14 states had expanded the week to a whole month of celebrating women’s contributions. So in 1987, Congress passed a resolution to make March of that year Women’s History Month, and it later was reinforced as an annual event.
So as a tip of the cap to all of the women who served and sacrificed to bring us better lives, we’ll highlight a few notable women who achieved great things in U.S. history:
In 1996, she was appointed Secretary of State under Bill Clinton, the first woman to hold that office.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
A former attorney for the ACLU and lifelong legal advocate, in 1993 Ginsberg was appointed to the Supreme Court.
In 1984, Ferraro became the first woman nominated as a major political party’s candidate for Vice President of the United States, running on the ticket with Walter Mondale.
Sandra Day O' Connor
O’Conner became the first female Supreme Court justice in United States history in 1981.
She was an American suffragist and leader of the movement, who's causes were often published in newspapers and influenced many readers. Woodhull actually ran for President in 1872.
Tubman was born into slavery in 1820 in Maryland and became a conductor on the Underground Railroad, helping escaped slaves flee to safety in the north. She became a free woman and an active abolitionist.
Like Harriet Tubman and so many others, Truth was born into slavery in 1797, but later freed, becoming a leading organizer and advocate for the abolition of slavery and women’s rights.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Stowe was the author of the iconic novel Uncle Toms Cabin, which helped advance the abolitionist cause and is still considered a literary classic.
Back in 1904 Tarbell brought the corruption of the oil industry to the national spotlight with her published work, A History of Standard Oil.
Perkins was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor, which made her the first woman in U.S. history to serve on a presidential cabinet.
FDR’s wife was a vocal and visible supporter of civil rights and social issues, opposing Jim Crow laws and improving the conditions of women.
In June of 1983, Ride became the first and also the youngest woman every to reach outer space with the NASA program.
Born in 1860, Addams became the first American woman to earn Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 for her service as president of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
Susan B. Anthony
Anthony worked tirelessly for the cause of women’s suffrage in her lifetime, becoming synonymous with the cause of women’s right to vote.
Born in 1821, this Civil War nurse and teacher went on to found the American Red Cross.
Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to Congress as a representative of New York, and later in 1972 ran for the Democratic nomination in the presidential campaign.
This academic and advocate of women’s rights became the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States.
Rachel Louise Carson
Born in 1907, Carson became the founder of the modern environmental movement, rallying the world against the chemical DDT in her 1950s book, Silent Spring.
She was the first female aviator to make a solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic in 1928.
In 1837, Lyon founded the first U.S. college for women, Mount Holyoke Seminary.
Steinem was the mother of modern feminism, founding Ms. magazine and serving as a co-covener of the National Women's Political Caucus.
Rudolph became the first woman to win three Olympic gold medals with her performance in track and field events in 1960.
Parks refused to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus, creating a spark that engulfed the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
In 1838, Grimke wrote an essay titled "Essay on the Equality of Women” making an argument that would be picked up by suffragists for a century to come.
Billie Jean King
A professional tennis player in the United States in the 1960s and 70s, King helped challenge the myth that women’s sports were inferior and they couldn’t compete.
In the early 1900s, Keller, blind and deaf herself, came to international prominence as an educator and advocate of rights and advancement for disabled people.
This writer, feminist, and philosopher wrote the book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, in 1792, which completely bucked societal norms at the time.