Wednesday, March 4, 2009

You Go Girl

March is Women's History Month! The celebration of women's history can be traced back to as early as 1911 when the first Women's International Day occured on March 8 in Europe. This was a popular time for women's rights, and the suffrage movement was in full swing. With the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920, women gained the right to vote. However, soon after with the economic depression of the late 1920s and 1930s women's rights moved to the back burner.

In the 1970s women began fighting for more rights, particularly in the world outside of the home. Colleges began offering women's studies courses and in 1978 the education task force of the Sonoma County, California, Commission on the Status of Women held the first "Women's History Week" celebration. They chose the week of March 8th in order to pay tribute to the first Women's Day celebration. Schools around the country began to host their own Women's History Week and in 1981 congress passed a resolution establishing a National Women's History Week.

The National Women's History Project got involved, and in 1987 requested that congress extend it to be a National Women's History Month. Congress continues to issue a resolution every year, and the U.S. President also issues a proclamation of Women's History Month each year.

With the focus on women this month it is a great time to profile some amazing women, or to discuss the impact women have had on our country's history.

Suggested classroom activity:

Many people have suggested the addition of new federal holidays. Imagine a new federal holiday is being created for the month of March. Have each student nominate a woman for this honor. Each student, or in groups, should then explain and defend to the class their choice. Once everyone has finished, the class can then vote on the nominees.

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