The roots of National Women’s History Month go back to March 8, 1857, when women from New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions.
From there women began to have a voice on what they believed they deserved and how they should be treated.
They lectured, wrote, marched and practiced civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans saw as a radical change.
Then on March 8, 1911, International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women, took place for the first time.
The public celebration of women’s history in the United States eventually turned into a week, and it began in 1978 as “Women’s History Week” in Sonoma County, Calif.
Many countries around the world celebrate the holiday with demonstrations, educational initiatives and customs such as presenting women with gifts and flowers.
In 1987, Congress expanded the celebration to a month, and March was declared Women’s History Month.
Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, one of the early women’s historians, said that “without question, our first inspiration was political. Aroused by feminist charges of economic and political discrimination . . . we turned to our history to trace the origins of women’s second-class status.”
The women’s movement of the 1960s caused women to question their role in traditional American history texts. The movement also gave opportunities to women, and produced a growing number of female historians.
Some notable figures include Anne Bradstreet, the first published author in 1650; Elizabeth Blackwell, who received her medical degree in 1849; and astronaut Dr. Peggy Whitson, who became the commander of the International Space Station in 2007.
We also include the 2008 elections during which Sen. Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire presidential primary, the first woman to do so.
There were also a lot of famous firsts for American women. One being on Aug. 26, 1920, the day the United States gave American women the right to vote.
Bria Patterson is a junior mass communication major from St Louis.