Women’s History Month

is one of the outcomes of a county­wide movement in Sonoma County, California, in the 1970s that brought a focus on wom­en into school curricula as well as into the general public’s consciousness. In 1978, the Educational Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women initiated a “Women’s History Week.” The week of March 8 was chosen since March 8 is International Women’s Day. As word of the move­ment spread, State Departments of Education across the U. S. initiated similar changes to their curricula, and encouraged celebrations of women’s history as a means of achieving equity in classrooms. In 1987 the National Women’s History Project petitioned the Unit­ed States Congress to recognize the whole month of March as National Women’s History Month. Since then, every year the House of Representatives and the United States Senate approve the designation.

March is celebrated with special programs and activities in schools, workplaces, and communities. Besides recognizing women’s achievements in such areas as science, math, politics, arts, and athletics, a common topic in school curricula is the women’s suf­frage movement in the United States. Before 1920, women did not have the right to vote under the con­stitution. In the decade between 1910 and 1920, women organized and were involved in political dem­onstrations and marches across the United States. Though the vote was brought to the congress several times, it failed to pass. Finally in 1919, after years of picketing, petitioning, and protesting, the vote passed, resulting in the passage of the Nineteenth Amend­ment to the U. S. Constitution on August 26, 1920. In

November 1920, women voted for the first time in a national election.

Glossary

outcome(s): n. a result or the effect of an action consciousness: n. knowledge or awareness initiate(d): v. to begin equity: n. justice or fairness

designation: n. something chosen for a particular reason or purpose

suffrage: n. the right to vote in an election

right: n. a legal claim

decade: n. a period of ten years

picket(ing): v. to stand or demonstrate outside a building or place of work to prevent people from entering and working, as a means of political protest petition(ing): v. to demand or request some action from a government or other authority amendment: n. a change in a law

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