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Women's History Month: Home

About Women's History Month


Women's History Month

Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a “Women’s History Week” celebration in 1978. The organizers selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International Women’s Day*. The movement spread across the country as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week celebrations the following year.

In 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians—led by the National Women’s History Project (now the National Women's History Alliance)—successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th 1980 as National Women’s History Week

Subsequent Presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week in March until 1987 when Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, each president has issued an annual proclamation designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.

*International Women's Day, is also celebrated annually in many countries around the world on March 8. This commemoration originated in the activities of labor movements in the early 1900's  in North America and across Europe. The United Nations officially recognized International Women's Day in 1977.

"Women's History Month." National Women's History Museum. Accessed 09 Feb 2022.

2023 National Women's History Month Theme


The National Women’s History Alliance selects and publishes the yearly theme

The 2024 National Women’s History Theme
“Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion”

The National Women’s History Alliance, which spearheaded the movement for March being declared National Women’s History Month, has announced the women’s history theme for 2024, “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.”

Throughout 2023, the NWHA will encourage 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, and more. The timely theme honors women in every community who have devoted their lives and talents to producing art, pursuing truth, and reflecting the human condition decade after decade.

From the earliest storytellers through pioneering journalists, our experiences have been captured by a wide variety of artists and teachers.  These include authors, songwriters, scholars, playwrights, performers, and grandmothers throughout time. Women have long been instrumental in passing on our heritage in word and in print to communicate the lessons of those who came before us. Women’s stories, and the larger human story, expand our understanding and strengthen our connections with each other.

As in previous years, the Alliance, which is centered in Santa Rosa, California, will encourage local communities throughout the country to use the year’s theme to guide their own celebrations.  The NWHA will popularize national efforts through on-line celebrations, a special magazine and thematic products that recognize and honor these brave, accomplished and influential women who told – and continue to tell – our stories.  Today and over the years ahead, their dedication and shared desire to give voice to the voiceless are critical to keeping us informed, entertained and aware.

"2024 Theme." National Women's History Alliance. Accessed 4 Mar 2024.

2023 Presidential Proclamation on Women's History Month

During Women’s History Month, we celebrate the courageous women who have helped our Nation build a fairer, more just society. 

     Throughout history, the vision and achievements of powerful women have strengthened our Nation and opened the doors of opportunity wider for all of us.  Though their stories too often go untold, all of us stand on the shoulders of these sung and unsung trailblazers — from the women who took a stand as suffragists, abolitionists, and labor leaders to pioneering scientists and engineers, groundbreaking artists, proud public servants, and brave members of our Armed Forces.

     Despite the progress that these visionaries have achieved, there is more work ahead to knock down the barriers that stand in the way of women and girls realizing their full potential — in a country founded on freedom and equality, nothing is more fundamental.  That is why my Administration has put women and girls at the heart of everything we do.  When I first came into office, I established the White House Gender Policy Council to advance their rights and opportunities across domestic and foreign policy.  I also released the Nation’s first-ever National Gender Strategy to advance gender equity and equality across my Administration — from women’s economic security and leadership opportunities to freedom from gender-based violence and equal access to education and health care.  Women are seated at every table where decisions are made in my Administration — from our first female Vice President, Kamala Harris, to a record number of female cabinet secretaries to the most diverse set of judges ever nominated to the Federal bench, including Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

     If we want to have the strongest economy in the world, we cannot leave women — half of our workforce — behind.  Since I have been in office, the economy has created nearly 15 million jobs, and we have seen the lowest unemployment rate among women in more than five decades.  As we implement major pieces of legislation like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act, we are ensuring that women get their fair share of opportunities.  We are increasing their access to new jobs in sectors where women have been historically underrepresented, like manufacturing, construction, and clean energy.  We are championing equal pay, including issuing new regulations that advance pay equity and pay transparency for Federal workers and employees of Federal contractors.  

     We are making sure women have access to the resources they need to enter and remain in the workforce, including high-quality, affordable child care.  My Administration’s American Rescue Plan helped working mothers, especially during the most challenging times of the pandemic, by keeping the doors of 220,000 child care centers open — 90 percent of which are owned and staffed by women.  Our Child Tax Credit cut the number of children in poverty by 50 percent and provided breathing room for 65 million children and their families, and we will keep fighting to restore it.  I have also signed legislation that provides new protections for pregnant and postpartum workers. 

     To promote the health and wellness of women in America, under the leadership of Vice President Harris, we launched the Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis to combat the high incidence of maternal mortality — especially for Black, Native, and rural women — due to systemic inequities in quality health care.  We have expanded access to health care services for women veterans — the fastest growing group of veterans receiving services at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Last fall, we launched the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research to change how we approach and fund women’s health research, and pioneer the next generation of discoveries in women’s health care.

     Further, Vice President Harris and I are fighting to protect women’s reproductive freedom.  In 2022, the Supreme Court made an extreme decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, reversing nearly five decades of recognizing a woman’s constitutional right to choose and make deeply personal decisions about her health care.  Now, tens of millions of women live in States with an extreme and dangerous abortion ban currently in effect.  Across the country, women are being turned away from emergency rooms, forced to go to court to seek permission for the medical attention they need, and made to travel hundreds of miles for care.  This is unacceptable.  That is why I have taken action to safeguard access to reproductive care, including abortion and contraception.  Vice President Harris and I will keep calling on the Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade in Federal law — the only way to ensure women in every State have the right to choose.

     As we lift up women’s health and economic prosperity, we also have to protect their physical security.  As a United States Senator, I was proud to write the Violence Against Women Act, which helped change the culture of silence around the scourge of gender-based violence in America.  When we reauthorized the law, we increased our total investment in prevention and support to $700 million for 2023 alone — the highest funding ever to protect women from gender-based violence in nearly 30 years.  I have also spearheaded historic military justice reforms to better protect survivors and ensure that, in cases of gender-based violence, prosecutorial decisions are fully independent from the chain of command.  Last year, my Administration released the first-ever National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, advancing a comprehensive Government-wide approach to preventing and addressing gender-based violence across the United States.

     Globally, my Administration is supporting initiatives that help expand access to child care, end gender-based violence, cut the digital gender divide in half, promote women’s leadership, and more.  Thanks to the leadership of Vice President Harris, we have galvanized more than $2.9 billion in investments to advance the economic status of women around the world and ensure they play a meaningful role in the industries of the future.  

     This Women’s History Month, may we recognize the long, storied history of great women helping to realize our Nation’s founding promise and highest aspirations.  May we all continue working to build a world worthy of the dreams and goals of all women and girls.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2024 as Women’s History Month.  I call upon all Americans to observe this month and to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, 2024, with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.  I also invite all Americans to visit to learn more about the vital contributions of women to our Nation’s history. 

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.

                                       JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.