It's Women's History Month in March!

By Jennifer E. RSS Fri, March 1, 2024

Happy Women’s History Month, Philadelphia!

What began as a local educational initiative in Sonoma, California 46 years ago, has evolved into a month-long celebration "commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American History." As President Jimmy Carter said, when he made the first Presidential Proclamation in 1980 for what was then a week-long occurrence, 

"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."

Much has changed in our understanding of American history since the 1980s — when grassroots support for Women’s History Month swelled and culminated with Congress declaring March as the observance month in 1987, with other congressional resolutions and presidential proclamations following suit in subsequent years. There are certainly more women today whose stories and legacies have been told or become more well-known by society at large. Scholars continue to dig into the past, bringing to prominence those who were left out of history books, while contemporary women are speaking up and leading all sorts of historical movements.

Still, the fact remains that the voices and experiences of men, particularly economically privileged white men, continue to dominate the historical narrative. By spotlighting other voices and experiences during March, we expand our knowledge of history, understand how we got to our present, and hopefully lay the foundation for a better and more equitable future. 

Below, we’ve shared some ideas about ways you can celebrate Women’s History Month:

  • Check out and read a recent memoir or non-fiction book centered on a woman or women, or find an older — but still awesome — book from our community book lists.
  • If fiction is more to your taste, consider reading a classic authored by a woman this month.
  • Attend a relevant Free Library event, such as an author talk, concert, or play reading. Check the listings throughout the month, to see when new events are added. 
  • Delve into the resources, collections, exhibitions, or multimedia shared on the Women’s History Month website, a joint effort of the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, containing a wealth of information and links.
  • March 8 is International Women’s Day, which is focused on inclusion in 2024. Make a vow to consistently support and seek out ways to #InspireIncusion for girls and women everywhere and throughout the year.
  • Support women-owned businesses! If you’re free, stop by Sister Sunday, taking place just a stone’s throw from Parkway Central at the Logan Hotel’s outdoor courtyard.
  • Watch a film written and/or directed by a woman. Both Kanopy and Access Video on Demand have excellent options available!
  • Share your own story, or that of a woman who is important to you, via the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum or on your social media. 
  • Take a stroll — in person or virtually — to stops along the Women’s History Self-Guided Walking Tour at Independence or the Women’s History Trail of Greater Philadelphia.
  • Seek out and listen to music made by female musicians.
  • Check out The 19th Amendment: How Women Won the Vote at the National Constitution Center or Revolutionary Women at the Museum of the American Revolution.
  • Learn more about issues facing women globally, or focus on something more local and important to you, then consider how you can make a positive difference. 

Have other ideas or plans for Women’s History Month? Let us know in the comments!

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First the We Can Do It Rosie was not Rosie the Riveter. Do you see "Rosie" or "Riveter" in any of those images? Why? Because that image was a poster commissioned by Westinghouse to raise the moral of their female war production workers. No Rosie involved. It was only used at Westinghouse for two weeks. (I've heard rumors that the female workers were talking union and that's why Westinghouse wanted to raise their moral, but don't listen to me!) Rosie the Riveter came from a Norman Rockwell painting on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, which it is suspected was inspired by the 1942 song by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb. This obviously working woman had a riveter in her lap, was dressed in overalls, and had her foot on her lunch box with the name "Rosie" on it. Also, on April 10th the White House is bestowing The Congressional Medal of Honor to Rosie the Riveter.
gayle morrow - philadelphia
Saturday, March 2, 2024

Black women were rarely allowed to work in factories, especially as riveters, until they started having a desparate need for more workers.
gayle morrow - philadelphia
Saturday, March 2, 2024