“Women and girls can do whatever they want. There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish.” Doesn’t Michelle Obama just say it best? Women’s History Month is a time to recognize the hardships women have faced, as well as celebrating the liberations and triumphs women have accomplished through time. American women have struggled throughout history for their own rights and many other underrepresented and disenfranchised groups in America. The history behind Women’s History Month shows the contrast of where American women were at, where they stand now, and what still needs improving as a society.
Where it all started
The origins of Women’s History Month began in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized the President to proclaim March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” In the 1970’s, local groups were celebrating Women’s History Week. One of the most notable celebrations was organized in Santa Rosa, California by the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women in 1978.
March 8th, International Women’s Day, was chosen as a point of observance. Dozens of schools planned special programs for the week. Over 100 community women participated in presentations in classrooms throughout the country and organized an annual “Real Woman” essay contest.
After petitions were signed from the National Women’s History Project in 1987, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which officially designated the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” (Source: March is Women’s History Month). Women’s History was no longer a week-long celebration but the entire month of March marking the celebration of women, their feats, milestones, and their true power.
Celebrating women in the workplace
It is an indisputable fact that women and men remain unequal in the workplace. The general wage gap between women of all races and men of all races is about 18 cents (Source: Quick Facts About the Gender Wage Gap). This number significantly differs when comparing women of color, along with LGBTQIA+ women. Women of all race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and religious affiliation should be celebrated and empowered in the workplace. Across the world, employers are leaning into diversity and inclusion for a better work environment for all. This is a special month, in particular, to fight and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
So what can we do to celebrate women in the workplace in March? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Craft a get-to-know-you post for the women in your organization and post on corporate social media platforms
- Run a daily social media takeover where different women in your organization post on your corporate social media accounts for the day
- Interview the women in your organization or invite guests to go live on Instagram and answer public questions
- Buy the ladies of your office a coffee (doubleshot energy!)
- As a company, invest in nonprofit organizations that support women and girls (e.g. Girls Who Code, The Malala Fund, Invisible Girl Project, Girls Not Brides USA, Global Fund For Women). For an extensive list, click here: Women’s History Month & Nonprofits Focused on Women & Girls
- Start a book club and share inspiring books from female authors
- Female-focused roundtable: Go around and talk about the women/woman/womxn you are most inspired by and why
- Support BIPOC women-owned small business and give a small gift to the office
- Identify and stop using gender-biased language in meetings, job postings, day-to-day conversations
Treat every month as Women’s History Month
Although March is specifically dedicated to Women’s History Month, check in with yourself and your organization to make sure you are advocating for the women in your office, especially women of color. Are you giving them the right platform, voice, opportunity, creative input, and respect? OpenSesame provides your organization with engaging courses you can take to inspire, educate, and boost confidence to stand out as a leader. Check these out now:
With courses offered in multiple languages, and available on multiple devices, OpenSesame helps companies like yours develop the world’s most developed and admired global workforces. Check out our free course of the week, and if you have any questions contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.