Women's History Month


Josephine Baker
Lucille Bluford
Annie Turnbo Malone
Margaret Bush Wilson

“As we reflect on the triumphs of the past, we must also look to the limitless potential that lies ahead.  To win the future, we must equip the young women of today with the knowledge, skills, and equal access to reach for the promise of tomorrow.”

 – President Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation, Women's History Month, 2011

Though the first National Women’s Day was celebrated in 1909, the earliest observation of Women’s History Week would not occur until 1978.  The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women initiated this movement, which quickly spread across the country.  In 1980, President Jimmy Carter officially declared the week of March 8 as National Women's History Week.  Finally, in 1981, Senator Orrin Hatch and Representative Barbara Mikulski co-sponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming a “Women’s History Week.” 

Fourteen states had declared March Women’s History Month by the close of 1986, and in 1987, The National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to expand the celebration to include the entire month of March.  Each year, a special Presidential Proclamation is issued which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women and continues this honored tradition.

The 2012 theme of Women’s History Month is “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment.”  Early proponents of education for women were trampled by arguments from physicians and other “experts” who believed females were incapable of intellectual development equal to men, or that they would be harmed by attempting to gain knowledge that they were not able to retain.

The Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act (or simply “Title IX”), passed into law in 1972 and enacted in 1977, prohibits gender discrimination in federally-funded institutions, which gave women the equal opportunity to learn, taken for granted by most young women today.  This Act became a primary platform for women, allowing them to fully participate in all aspects of education, and has transformed the educational landscape of America within the span of a generation.

See Famous Missouri Women.

Celebrate Women’s History Month in Missouri by attending any of the following events throughout the state:

Western Missouri

Kansas City


Southwestern Missouri



Central Missouri


Jefferson City

Eastern Missouri



Saint Louis


Take a trip down memory lane when you visit one or more of these historical sites honoring our nation’s women of the past:


If you are looking for more information on Women’s History Month, or just want to become more knowledgeable concerning the history of women in America, visit any of the following websites:

Famous Missourians
Read about Missouri women famous for their contributions to the arts, education, and leadership.
Missouri Women’s Council
This organization serves as a resource and referral center to help encourage, educate, and support Missouri women as they pursue their economic goals. The Missouri Women’s Council is a statutorily-created organization within the Department of Economic Development that works to promote the economic success of Missouri women by connecting them to information and resources.
The National Women’s History Project
2012 National Women’s History Month Theme: Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment
Women of Our Time: Twentieth Century Photographs from the National Portrait Gallery
Library of Congress
An interactive gallery of some of twentieth-century America's most famous and influential women.
Women’s History Month Images
Library of Congress
The Campaign for Suffrage
Library of Congress
This selection of thirty-eight pictures includes portraits of many individuals frequently requested from the holdings of the Prints and Photographs Division and the Manuscript Division. Also featured are photographs of suffrage parades, picketing suffragists, and an anti-suffrage display, as well as cartoons commenting on the movement – all evoking the visible and visual way in which the debate over women's suffrage was carried out.
National Gallery of Art
Do Women Have to be Naked to get into the Met Museum?
Surveying the works on display in the museum's nineteenth- and twentieth-century galleries, the Guerrilla Girls tallied the number of female nudes versus the number of male nudes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and counted the number of works by female artists versus the number by male artists. Their findings were startling: not even five percent of the artists represented in the modern galleries were women, while fully eighty-five percent of the nudes in those same galleries were female.
Experiencing War: Women of Four Wars
For women, the Korea and Vietnam wars signaled few advances in their roles in military service, but in the Persian Gulf War and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the areas of women’s participation expanded immensely, with potentially more dire consequences.
National Women’s Hall of Fame
The National Women’s Hall of Fame is the nation’s oldest membership organization dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the achievements of great American women.