In the United States, Women’s History Month traces its beginnings back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980, as National Women’s History Week. The proclamation stated, “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.
In 1987, after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed legislation which designated the month of March as Women’s History Month. As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, ‘Women’s history …is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.’
As evidenced by the huge turnout for the Women’s March on Washington, awareness of the contributions of women and girls continues to spread and be celebrated throughout the nation.Understanding the struggles of women throughout history will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people.
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