5 Things Your Kids Should Know About Women's History

While many great strides have been made for women in the United States throughout the last few decades, there’s still a long way to go, Mama. Even though it’s 2023, inequality and sexism still exist—in fact, a 2017 Pew Research Center survey found that a whopping four-in-ten women (42%) said they have experienced gender discrimination at work. And until Congress passed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974, women couldn't get credit cards in their own name!

Although these are just a few examples, these inequities—in addition to the strides made by our heroes—are why it’s so important to celebrate Women's History Month in March. It's a great time to read about women’s history and teach our sons and daughters about the heroes (both the well-known and the unsung) who worked tirelessly to further women’s rights. Cheering on those still fighting for and representing women today is equally important because as we mentioned before, there’s still plenty of work to be done.

We all learned certain facts in school, but there is so much more out there that we fail to recognize and so much more we need to teach our children so women can continue to make strides toward equality. So with that, here are 5 facts about Women’s History that you and your kiddos should know:


1. Celebrating women’s history began with a day.

February 28, 1909, marked the first Woman's History Day in New York City. It commemorated the one-year anniversary of the garment workers' strikes when 15,000 women marched through lower Manhattan for better labor laws, conditions, and the right to vote. Young women worked in tight conditions at sewing machines, and the factories' owners didn't keep the factory up to safety standards. In 1911, the factory burned down and 145 workers were killed. It pushed lawmakers to finally pass legislation meant to protect factory workers.

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2. The day became Women's History Week in 1978.

An education task force in Sonoma County, California kicked off Women's History Week in 1978, according to the National Women's History Alliance (NWHA). They wanted to draw attention to the fact that women's history wasn't really included in K-12 school curriculums at the time (crazy, right?!). It was an instant hit and "over one hundred community women participated by doing special presentations in classrooms throughout the country and an annual 'Real Woman' Essay Contest drew hundreds of entries," according to the NWHA website.


3. In 1987, Women's History Month began nationwide.

Women's organizations, including the National Women's History Alliance, gathered and campaigned yearly from March 2-8 to recognize Women's History Week. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the week of March 8 would be designated as Women's History Week across the country.

By 1986, 14 states had declared the entire month of March Women's History Month, according to the Alliance. The following year, in March of 1987, activists were successful: they lobbied Congress to declare March Women's History Month!


Every Women's History Month has a theme.

The 2023 Women's History Month theme is Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories. This year, the National Women's History Alliance "will encourage the 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."


4. It wasn't until 1965 that all women could legally vote.

The 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote, was signed into law on August 26, 1920. But at the time, a number of other laws prohibited Native American women, Black women, Asian American women, and Latinx women from voting, among others. It wasn't until 1924 that Native women born in the United States were granted citizenship, allowing them to vote, according to PBS. Even after 1924, Native women and other women of color were prevented from voting by state laws such as poll taxes and literacy tests. It wasn't until 1965, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, that discriminatory tactics such as literacy tests were outlawed, and *all women* could vote.


5. Women weren’t legally guaranteed equal educational opportunities until 1972. Today, more women earn college degrees than men!

Though women gained the vote in 1920, there were still many barriers to true equality. Congress addressed the issue of inequality in education with the 1972 passage of Title IX, which states that schools receiving federal assistance cannot discriminate on the basis of sex. At universities, the resulting benefits of Title IX included an increase in female athletes, greater protection for victims of sexual assault, and increases in women’s enrollment. In fact, the majority of bachelor’s degrees are now awarded to women, a trend that began in 1980 and has steadily continued! According to 2021 data from the Education Data Initiative, 59% of women continued their education after high school, compared to 50% of men. Let's go, girls!

Did you learn something new, Mama? Share these facts with your little ones, your friends, and your family. If we know one thing, it’s this: when moms unite, we can make a difference and build strength in motherhood for all women, everywhere. Together we can make history and create a brighter future for our littles.

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