The date is February 28, 1909, the first National Women’s Day in America. The streets of New York City are flooded with crowds of women holding banners and roaring with chants. Women throughout the streets pushing for not only their own equality but the equality of all generations to come after them. It’s been about six years since the start of the Suffragette movement and this large stride in the effort for women’s equality is making waves.

          Just two years later on March 19, 1911 over one million women participated in the first International Women’s Day in Europe. In just one third the amount of time the United States took to officially recognize women from the start of the suffrage movement, Europe was able to bring together women in a multitude of countries even with language barriers.

          Though this celebration of women both within America and throughout the world continued, it wasn’t until 1981when the next big move for women’s history celebrations was seen. Starting in early March 1981, the country’s first Women’s History Month was celebrated. Originally being celebrated in Santa Rosa, California as a week-long celebration for women around the world, under the presidency of Jimmy Carter, Congress officially created the first Women’s History Month. 

          Now, it is March of 2022, forty one years after the first Women’s History Month was made official and we are still celebrating and remembering all those women who came before us and paved a way for where we are now. 

          Women such as Margaret Sanger, American birth control advocat and nurse, have made such a profound impact on the lives of millions of women in the US; or Jane Matilda Bolin, former New York Domestic Relations Judge, who in 1939 became the first African American female judge in American history. Pivotal women like Ilhan Omar, first Muslim American politician, who has not only marked history for Muslim women in America but have and continue to encourage women to follow their aspirations no matter the current circumstances. 

          These women and many others both past and present in America are celebrated during the month of March, but on March 8 of every year we open the observance to women all throughout the world. International Women’s Day is a day for everyone to celebrate women in every part of the world, from leading female scientists to someone’s mom, aunt, grandma, etc, there is always a woman in someone’s life who can be celebrated. 

          Now, celebrating the women in our lives is fun and amazing but International Women’s Day along with Women’s History Month stand for something even greater. This time of the year is to show the advancements and marks made by women while also bringing to awareness the continuous fight for women’s equality both in the United States and globally. 

          Though we have made many advancements as a group, there are still many issues that face women today. For example, in 2020, the United National estimated that about “29 million women and girls are victims of modern slavery, exploited by practices including forced labor, forced marriage, debt-bondage and domestic servitude” stated abcnews

          Just within America, a statistic released by RAINN, shows that every one out of six women has been a victim of sexual violence while globally that number lowers to every one out of three women experiencing some sort of sexual violence. 

          Though there are still many challenges facing women today both domestically and internationally, we take Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day to recognize and celebrate the growth that women have made throughout the world and the impact they have on so many lives.

Important Numbers:

National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673)

National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233)