Women’s History Month (WHM) is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987.

When celebrating Awareness Months such as WHM, it is important to understand the history behind them and if this celebration is a United States only. We often find it extremely important with our clients that are global, to ensure that if their company is celebrating this holiday that they are mindful of what other’s are not celebrating. This doesn’t mean that your company shouldn’t celebrate it, but they should be mindful if including this

celebration on their global diversity, equity and inclusion plan.

What is the her-story behind this celebration?

The actual celebration of Women’s History Month grew out of a weeklong celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history and society organized by the school district of Sonoma, California, in 1978. Presentations were given at dozens of schools, hundreds of students participated in a “Real Woman” essay contest and a parade was held in downtown Santa Rosa.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History week. The U.S. Congress followed suit the next year, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration. Six years later, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March.

It is important to know that within the Month of March, we also celebrate International Women’s Day. This celebration takes place on March 8th, and many countries around the world celebrate the holiday with demonstrations, educational initiatives and customs such as presenting women with gifts and flowers. 

We have also seen how the United Nations has sponsored International Women’s Day since 1975. When adopting its resolution on the observance of International Women’s Day, the United Nations General Assembly cited the following reasons:

“To recognize the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women; and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.”

This year’s theme

Every year National Women’s History Alliance designates a yearly theme for Women’s History Month. The 2022 theme is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” This theme is “both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.”

Our next post will talk about ideas, workshops and speakers that you can hire that are in alignment with the theme. Make sure to subscribe to our blog posts, every week we post relevant content for all things Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.