In 1975, the United Nations declared March to be International Women’s History Month. It also declared March 8 to be International Women’s Day. Three years later, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women launched a local “Women’s History Week” celebration, the first in the nation. They picked the week of March 8 so as to include International Women’s Day. Soon after, dozens of schools began their own Women’s History Week programs.
In 1980, President Jimmy Carter designated a national Women’s History Week for the country as a whole. Congress followed suit, authorizing an official Women’s History Week in 1981. It took place in the first half of March. In 1987, the week was expanded to include the whole month of March. Feminists and women’s rights activists viewed the designation as a step toward revising American history in a way that would no longer ignore women’s contributions. During Women’s History Month, emphasis is placed on the importance of women’s achievements in history. People also often take time to promote the expansion of women’s rights around the world.
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