Hello, sunshine. Hello, spring. Hello, Women’s History Month! With the welcoming of March comes the welcoming of Women’s History Month.
On March 8, 1857, a group of female garment workers, in New York City, organized together to form a rally outside of the factory they were employed in. The ladies held picket signs and posters that read phrases that demanded the need for better working conditions and better pay. The rally proved successful and from this came the creation of the first women’s labor union.
Over 50 years later in 1908, on the anniversary of the garment workers original strike, thousands of women banded together yet again but this time taking to the streets of New York. They marched from Manhattan to Union Square and not only chanted for more change of pay but also attacked the issue of extremely long hours, voting rights, and child labor laws. A few months later in May, the Socialist Party of America declared that the last day of February be dubbed National Women’s Day, which was first celebrated the following year in 1909. This soon gained international attention and other countries started to follow suit and acknowledged February 28 as well.
As the years went on activist, began to realize that not only was there an issue with woman’s pay and very poor working conditions, but there was also painfully obvious lack of women’s contributions to the United States of America in school history books. In 1970 a group of activist gathered together and revised the school curriculum in Sonoma County which eventually spread across the county and went on to earn so much attention that in 1980 president Jimmy Carter proclaimed the first national women’s history week for March 2 – 8. Making sure to plan it around the anniversary of the garment worker strike.
As the movement continued to gain traction some parts of the nation went on to celebrate the entire month of March in honor of women. Thus inspiring the Women’s National History Project to lobby for an official longer observation period, which was successful and in 1987 Congress passed a proclamation establishing March as the official Women’s History Month.
Now in 2018, women are still fighting the good fight for equal rights, pay, and standards as men. Much of women’s success story has begun in somewhat recent times and has expanded to include the rights of women who area part of the LGBTQ community. It is safe to assume the fight is far from over, but more so just the beginning.