“Understanding the true history of our country will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people,” declared Jimmy Carter in 1980 when he issued the first presidential proclamation creating Women’s History Week. Seven years later it would be expanded to the whole month of March. The month was chosen to coincide with International Women's Day, which has been celebrated on March 8 since 1911. The United Nations first recognized it in 1975 as a global celebration of women's achievements and a call to action for gender equality.
Each year the National Women’s History Alliance selects a theme for Women’s History Month and this year’s is Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories. Specifically, the focus will be on “recognition of women, past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, news, and social media.” As the acclaimed author Ursula LeGuin asserted, “We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains. That’s what I want — to hear you erupting. You Mount Saint Helens-es who don’t know the power in you — I want to hear you… If we don’t tell our truth, who will?”
Women's History Month and International Women's Day serve as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for gender equality and women's rights. They provide an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women throughout history, to raise awareness of the ongoing fight for gender equality, and to call for collective action to create a more equitable world. To learn more about women’s history and women’s stories, check out our book display on the main floor of the Library.