Women’s History Month offers an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the many women trailblazers who came before us.
Women’s* History Month was established in 1987 by presidential proclamation to celebrate the contributions and achievements of women socially, politically, economically and culturally over the course of American history.
Women’s History Month began in 1978 as a local week of celebration in Santa Rosa, California. In March 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring Women’s History Week to align with International Women’s Day (March 8th), which has been recognized worldwide since March 1911.
This Women’s History Month, programming around the world is applauding the achievements of women while emphasizing that gender bias still exists, women are underrepresented in nearly all areas of power and influence, and women’s rights are human rights.
Moreover, women’s empowerment in achieving health equity for themselves, while a fundamental right and an ongoing movement, still lags behind men. Empowered women are more likely to access health services and have control over their reproductive rights and are less likely to suffer domestic violence.
Economists estimate the Covid-19 pandemic set women’s participation in the labor force back 30 years, disproportionately impacting women of color and those in low-wage jobs.
When women thrive and are supported, entire communities also thrive.
International Women’s Day is March 8
International Women’s Day (IWD) recognizes and celebrates the myriad achievements of women and is a national holiday in many countries. This observance, begun in 1911, offers the opportunity for content creators, social activists and anyone working toward a gender-equal world to harness a collective global effort to celebrate, educate, and act.
While any and every day is good day to elevate women’s and girls’ achievements and call out gender bias, IWD provides a community platform for a shared movement – not owned by any country, region or organization – from which a call to action might be more clearly heard.
Show your support: Strike the #EmbraceEquity pose (give yourself a hug) and share your image on social media using the hashtags #IWD2023 and #EmbraceEquity.
There are many resources available to help raise awareness about the work of achieving gender parity and inclusiveness; here are just a few to check out:
- Understand gender-inclusive language such as how to use people’s correct pronouns, what pronouns are, and how to help foster more inclusivity.
- Volunteering and mentoring are great ways to make a difference in the lives of women and girls, during Women’s History Month and all year long.
- Legacies of American Women in our National Parks from the U.S. National Park Service celebrates the role of women in American history.
- The Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum advances understanding of women’s contributions throughout American history.
- Watch the History of Women’s History Month video created by the National Women’s History Museum.
International Women’s Day: Stories of Redefining Motherhood
Weds. March 8, 2023, 5 – 8 p.m.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Discover Center; free for anyone interested
WEBINAR | Embrace Global Equity for Women & Girls
March 9, 2023 at 2 p.m. EST
Celebrate global progress in empowering women and girls for this International Women’s Day. You’ll hear from charity partners CARE, Grameen Foundation and Women for Women International on what they’re addressing in 2023. You’ll also take action through charity-led activities during the meeting.
International Women’s Day Celebration: An Evening to Seed the Change with Landesa
Weds. March 16, 6 p.m.; Town Hall Seattle; free for anyone interested
UWCFD nonprofit expo: Organizations advancing the rights of women and girls
Tuesday, March 28, 2023 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
UW Tower north cafeteria (4th floor); free for anyone interested
Support through the UWCFD
International Women’s Day also provides an opportunity to offer philanthropic support and establish positive change for women and girls. The UWCFD has dozens of organizations to choose from and the following a just a sample. Search for an organization that speaks to you here.
Consider supporting organizations serving BIPOC women, where funding typically trails that of white-led organizations because of racial bias.
You can make a one-time donation or set up payroll deduction to a UWCFD organization working toward a gender-equal world:
Dress For Success Worldwide (charity code 0456936): Dress for Success is an international nonprofit organization that promotes the economic independence of women through professional attire, career development, and employment retention programs.
Freedom Education Project Puget Sound (charity code 1482384): Freedom Education Project Puget Sound provides a rigorous college program to incarcerated women in Washington and creates pathways to higher education after women are released from prison.
Girl Scouts of Western Washington (charity code 0315196): Leadership development program for girls 5-17, helping them develop courage, confidence and character through diverse activities including camping, financial literacy, nature study and community service.
IGNITE Worldwide (charity code 1481065): IGNITE dismantles the myths and stereotypes girls have about technology careers by connecting them with women technology professionals.
International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) (charity code 1481537): ICRW empowers women, advances gender equality and fights poverty through research, capacity building and advocacy.
The Justice for Girls Coalition of Washington State (charity code 1482829): The Justice for Girls Coalition builds public will and community investment in innovation policies and practices that impact girls in Washington state.
League of Women Voters of Washington (charity code 1480788): Helps strengthen the public’s knowledge of government in Washington state through nonpartisan educational projects that help people understand public policy issues and become informed, active participants in their communities.
Mary’s Place Seattle (charity code 1481713): Empowering homeless women, children and families to reclaim their lives by providing shelter, nourishment, resources, healing and hope in a safe community.
University of Washington Women’s Center (charity code 0315815): The UW Women’s Center partners to build a culture of social justice, equity and non-violence through educational programs, advising, counseling, life skills training, and public policy.
The Whole U stands with, supports, and celebrates all women. We envision a world where women are healthy, safe, heard and empowered.
*In this article, “women” and “girls” refers to all gender expansive people: cisgender, trans, non-binary, gender non-conforming, gender queer and anyone woman- or girl-identified. Learn more about these terms here.