What better time to celebrate the many remarkable accomplishments and unsung legacies of our women sheroes than during National Women’s History Month?
Taking place throughout March, the annual declared observation is celebrated worldwide to showcase the historical and contemporary contributions that women have made to society.
President Obama recently issued the annual proclamation designating the special month. He touched on the obstacles still facing American women, such as workplace discrimination, a higher risk of sexual assault and wage gender gaps, while also highlighting recent strides made under his Administration, like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the a task force on campus sexual assaults.
“As we honor the many women who have shaped our history, let us also celebrate those who make progress in our time,” Obama announced. “Let us remember that when women succeed, America succeeds. And from Wall Street to Main Street, in the White House and on Capitol Hill — let us put our Nation on the path to success.”
This year’s theme is Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment, in honor of the extraordinary and often unrecognized tenacity and determination of women.
The U.S. origins of the month can be traced back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911 and the later National Women’s History Week. The National Women’s History Project, an educational American non-profit, led a coalition to successfully petitioned for Congress to pass a bill taht declares the month of March 1987–and eventually, every March–Women’s History Month.
“Against social convention and often legal restraints, women have created a legacy that expands the frontiers of possibility for generations to come,” read the NWHP’s website about this year’s theme.
“[Women] have demonstrated their character, courage and commitment as mothers, educators, institution builders, business, labor, political and community leaders, relief workers, women religious, and CEOs. Their lives and their work inspire girls and women to achieve their full potential and encourage boys and men to respect the diversity and depth of women’s experience.”
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Each year, the NWHP selects a number of nominated women from a wide-range of occupations and cultures to commemorate as annual honorees. The 2014 Honorees include: the late Anna Julia Haywood Cooper, an African-American educator and author; Carmen Delgado Votaw, a Puerto Rican international women’s rights activist; Chipeta, an Indian right’s advocate and diplomat; and Lisa Taylor, an African-American civil rights attorney.
On March 27, the non-profit will host a gala reception and dinner celebrating National Women’s History month in Washington, D.C.
Additional events will also be held by the Library of Congress:
March 1Women’s History Month Family DayA day of music, hands-on activities and more.(National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution)March 4Women’s History ProgramThe Law Library of Congress will host a discussion with former U.S. Rep. Patricia Schroeder.(Library of Congress)March 137th Annual Forum on Women in Leadership: Women in Congressional LeadershipA panel of five former Congressional Representatives and Senators discusses their personal journeys and advice they would offer to young women entering the field.(National Archives)March 20ConcertThe Washington Women in Jazz Festival Quintet will showcase the music of Melba Liston, one of the great American jazz trombonists.(American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution)
For more information on each event, head to the Library of Congress website.