If you are in your 40s or older, when you think back to school, especially history or social studies class, how much did you learn about the contributions of women?
In 1978, the Sonoma County (California) Education Task Force decided to add women’s history to their K-12 Curriculum with a “Women’s History Week” celebration. The United Nations had adopted March 8 as International Women’s Day the year prior, in 1977, so the Task Force decided to have “Women’s History Week” correspond with that day. The following year, the movement spread across the United States and in 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8th, 1980 to be “National Women’s History Week”.
By 1986, fourteen states had declared March as Women’s History Month. This momentum was used to lobby Congress to declare the entire month of March 1987 as Women’s History Month. In 1987, Congress declared March Women’s History Month permanently.
The National Women’s History Alliance selects a yearly theme. Since the hundred year celebrations of many women’s suffrage movements were curtailed by the pandemic last year, the National Women’s History Alliance is extending the annual theme for 2021 to “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced”.
Middlesex Public Library has some wonderful resources in our collection if you want to know more about the Women’s Suffrage Movement or women’s contributions to history. Below is a list of just some of our resources. If there is a title or topic that you are interested in but that you do not see on the list, please ask our Reference Staff and they will be happy to help you find what you are looking for.
The Lions of Fifth Avenue – Fiction – Davis, Fiona – The wife of a librarian at NY Public Library joins a Heterodoxy Club and is involved in Women’s Right to Vote.
Fighting Change – Non Fiction – 978.3 DUD – The struggle over Women’s Suffrage and Black Suffrage in Reconstructionist America.
Jane Addams: Spirit in Action – Biography – B Addams – Biography of stateswoman and Nobel Peace Prize Winner dedication to advocating for women’s suffrage and becoming a Presidential advisor.
It Changed My Life: Writings on the Women’s Movement – Non Fiction – 301.412 FRE – Betty Friedan, an icon in the Women’s Movement, writes about her experiences and how they effected her.
Young Adult Books
With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman’s Right to Vote – Non Fiction – YA 324.623 BAU – The final years of the struggle for the women’s right to vote. This book focuses on Alice Paul and the National Women’s Party.
Stories of Women’s Suffrage – Non Fiction – J 324.6 GUI – a non-fiction account of women’s suffrage for young readers.
Women’s Right to Vote – Non Fiction – J 324.6 BEN – Learn about the struggle of women for the right to vote.
Meet Samantha: An American Girl – Samantha is an orphan in 1904 who goes on an adventure to find out what happened to a seamstress who suddenly left her job.
Hidden Figures – Non Fiction – MID 920 SHE – The story of three women who crossed gender and race barriers to help the US win the Space Race.
Radium Girls – Non Fiction – J 540 MOO – The scary but true story of how women were exposed to radium in their jobs and the fight for justice.
Showcasing Women's History Month
For additional information and resources, please check out these videos created in English and Spanis, showcasing some of the many titles in our collection that celebrate women: