Facing our third winter snow storm during the first two weeks of March, hoping the power stays on and my internet holds up, I wondered why on earth March was selected for Women’s History Month. I mean, who decides these things? And why only one month for one-half of the world’s population? Granted, one should be thankful for small favors, but still—one month?

So, turning to the Google machine, I learned that the first celebration of women’s history was not a month, but only one week long and occurred in Sonoma County, California, in 1978. It was held during March to include March 8, International Women’s Day, according to the National Women’s History Project. Organized by the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women, the project concluded with a parade through downtown Santa Rosa at the end of the week.

The movement to celebrate women’s contributions to our history spread across the country, and pressure was brought to bear upon our elected representatives during an era when it mattered.  A Democratic congresswoman from Maryland, Barbara Mikulski, and a junior senator from Utah, Orrin Hatch, co-sponsored a congressional resolution for National Women’s History Week 1981. (It was indeed a different era.)

From the Women’s History Month.gov website:

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.”

And in typical Trump fashion, there is nothing on the website to indicate that this year, or last year, a proclamation had been issued designating March as Women’s History Month. Whether the oversight is due to a simple failure to update the .gov website or to Trump’s general disdain for women is hard to tell. And it doesn’t really matter, as the result is the same.

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