Women's History Month
“As we reflect on the triumphs of the past, we must also look to the limitless potential that lies ahead. To win the future, we must equip the young women of today with the knowledge, skills, and equal access to reach for the promise of tomorrow.”– President Barack Obama, Presidential Proclamation, Women's History Month, 2011
Though the first National Women’s Day was celebrated in 1909, the earliest observation of Women’s History Week would not occur until 1978. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women initiated this movement, which quickly spread across the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter officially declared the week of March 8 as National Women's History Week. Finally, in 1981, Senator Orrin Hatch and Representative Barbara Mikulski co-sponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming a “Women’s History Week.”
Fourteen states had declared March Women’s History Month by the close of 1986, and in 1987, The National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to expand the celebration to include the entire month of March. Each year, a special Presidential Proclamation is issued which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women and continues this honored tradition.
The 2012 theme of Women’s History Month is “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment.” Early proponents of education for women were trampled by arguments from physicians and other “experts” who believed females were incapable of intellectual development equal to men, or that they would be harmed by attempting to gain knowledge that they were not able to retain.
The Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act (or simply “Title IX”), passed into law in 1972 and enacted in 1977, prohibits gender discrimination in federally-funded institutions, which gave women the equal opportunity to learn, taken for granted by most young women today. This Act became a primary platform for women, allowing them to fully participate in all aspects of education, and has transformed the educational landscape of America within the span of a generation.
Celebrate Women’s History Month in Missouri by attending any of the following events throughout the state:
- Documentary Screening: MissRepresentation
March 7 at 12:00 noon
UMKC Main Campus, Miller Nichols Library, iX Theater
800 East 52nd Street
Event Contact Arzie Umali (816) 235-5577 This documentary explores how mainstream media contributes to the under-representation of women in influential positions in America and challenges the media’s limiting and often disparaging portrayals of women, which make it difficult for the average girl to see herself as powerful. http://www.umkc.edu/womenc/events/calendar.asp
- Friday Night Family Fun: Women’s History Month Celebration
March 23 at 6:30 p.m.
Kansas City Public Library Plaza Branch
4801 Main Street
Celebrate Women’s History Month with a talented group of living history presenters who bring the past to life. Join local storyteller Molly Postlewait and others for a journey through history and meet some of the amazing women who have shaped our nation. This event is appropriate for children in grades 2 – 12.
- “Women in Jazz Month” at American Jazz Museum
1616 East 18th Street
The theme for March is centered around Women in Jazz Month at the American Jazz Museum, and The Blue Room performance calendar is literally packed with talent that showcases the continuing contributions of women within all aspects of perpetuating the jazz musical art form. www.americanjazzmuseum.com
March 2 – June 1: “Ella – First Lady of Song” exhibit hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday 12:00 noon – 6:00 p.m. Closed Mondays.
March 3: Deborah Brown performs “Celebrating Ella,” 8:30 p.m.
March 23: Book of Gaia makes its debut in The Blue Room, doors open at 5:00 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m.
March 24: Women in Jazz Celebration with Geri Allen and the Tierney Sutton Quartet, 8:30 p.m.
March 30: Ida McBeth at The Blue Room, doors open at 7:00 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m.
- Dr. Jessie Bell Woodside Holt Women's History Month Lecture
March 26 at 7:00 p.m.
Park University, McCoy Meetin’ House
8700 Northwest River Park Drive
Dr. Ann Schultis performs as women's rights leader and abolitionist Clarina Nichols. http://news.park.edu/pub/news_002073.shtml
- The Color Purple
March 30 at 8:00 p.m.
REPEATED: March 31 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Tickets sales begin March 2
Juanita K. Hammons Hall, Missouri State University
525 South John Q. Hammons Parkway
The Color Purple, a soul-stirring musical based on the classic Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the moving film by Steven Spielberg, is the unforgettable and inspiring story of a woman named Celie, who finds her unique voice in the world. http://www.hammonshall.com/Shows.aspx?id=173
- Beatrix Potter, Peter Rabbit and Friends
March 27 at 10:00 a.m.
Springfield-Greene County Library District, Strafford Branch Library
101 South State Highway 125
In honor of Women’s History Month, celebrate the work of author and illustrator Beatrix Potter with a storytime focusing on her beloved characters Peter Rabbit and friends. http://thelibrary.org/programs/month/march.cfm
- 16th Annual Women’s Poetry Night
March 6 at 6:00 p.m.
Women's Center Lounge, G108 MU Student Center, University of Missouri Campus
901 Rollins Street
Join renowned and up-and-coming poets and spoken word artists from the University of Missouri, Stephens College, and Columbia communities as they share their words with us. Light refreshments provided.
- 19th Annual Women in the Arts Gallery Show and Reception
Art Show: March 4 – 30
Reception: Thursday, March 8, 4:00 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Craft Studio Gallery, N12 Memorial Union, University of Missouri Campus
518 Hitt Street
The annual Women in the Arts show highlights talented women artists of Missouri. In conjunction with Women’s History Month at the University of Missouri, the Craft Studio presents this exhibit as a tribute to women – past, present, and future – whose artistic creations are often overlooked and forgotten. Both professional and student work will be selected for the exhibit. http://womenscenter.missouri.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Calendar-of-Events-Spring-2012_website-copy.pdf
- Jenn Pozner: Why Reality TV is Bad for Women and…
March 14 at 7:00 p.m.
University of Missouri Campus
Memorial Union, Stotler Lounge
518 Hitt Street
Join Jenn Pozner, founder and executive director of Women in Media & News and author of Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV, for this eye-opening and relatable lecture which takes a fierce, funny, and in-depth look at how reality television affects beliefs, behavior, and culture. Using humor, video clips from your favorite programs, and a decade of journalistic research, Pozner deconstructs reality television’s twisted fairytales.
- Dred & Harriet Scott: Their Family Story
March 22 at 7:00 p.m.
Kirkpatrick State Information Center
600 West Main Street
Like many Missouri slaves, Dred and Harriet Scott, a St. Louis couple, each sued for freedom in 1846 based on the time they had lived as slaves in free territory. When their cases were appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, attorneys combined the separate freedom suits into a single case under Dred’s name, resulting in Harriet’s role being largely lost to history. Ruth Ann Hager, a genealogist at the Special Collections Department of the St. Louis County Library, will explore how the Scott family finally secured their freedom and what happened to Harriet and the couple’s daughters, Eliza and Lizzie, after Dred’s death in 1858. http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/about/calendar.asp
- Missouri Women’s Lobby Day
Jefferson City, State Capitol
Express your views to your legislators and learn what your legislator supports. Each of the following three organizations invites women to join them for this event.
American Association of University Women of Missouri
National Organization for Women, Missouri Chapter
Missouri State Women's Political Caucus
- Take Back the Night Demonstration
March 28 at 6:00 p.m.
Women’s March: Station Plaza, 141 East Madison Avenue, Kirkwood, to St. Louis Community College – Meramec, 11333 Big Bend Road
Lecture: BA-105, Meramec Campus
Take Back the Night is intended to increase awareness of sexual violence, stop the silence surrounding these crimes, and empower survivors. Women will meet in the Station Plaza in downtown Kirkwood with a speaker. They will then “march” to St. Louis Community College – Meramec, where they will join men who will gather in BA-105 on the Meramec campus to join a speaker to discuss men’s role in stopping violence against women. http://www.stlcc.edu/Document_Library/MC/2012whm.pdf
- 6th Annual Women Making History
Awards Reception: March 1, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Saint Louis Cellars Women in Wine Class: March 7, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Shopping Extravaganza & Meet/Greet: March 31, 12:00 noon – 5:00 p.m.
Other events throughout March
Moosylvania Marketing and Hatch Research, 7303 Marietta
Women Making History celebrates the women-owned and -managed businesses in Maplewood, where twenty-five percent of the businesses are women-owned. A directory of women-owned and -managed businesses will be available throughout the month and posted online in March. http://www.cityofmaplewood.com/index.aspx?NID=148
- Shattering the Stereotype in Science, Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D.
March 5 at 11:00 a.m.
Meramac Theatre, 11333 Big Bend Road, St. Louis Community College
As the host of Science Saturdays, Ramirez discusses modern marvels of technology and innovation. She shatters the stereotype of who is a scientist and encourages underrepresented groups to believe that science is for them. According to Ramirez, “everyone can benefit from contributions of scientists of every stripe.” http://www.stlcc.edu/Document_Library/MC/2012whm.pdf
- Authors @ Your Library Presents: Jeannette Batz Cooperman
March 8 at 7:00 p.m.
St. Louis Public Library
225 North Euclid Avenue
Dr. Jeannette Batz Cooperman will discuss and sign her new book, The St. Louis Women's Exchange: 130 Years of the Gentle Art of Survival. The volunteers who run the Woman's Exchange have had enough grit to keep the place going through two World Wars, a Great Depression, several recessions, the end of fine craftsmanship, and the start of a new do-it-yourself movement. The “decayed gentlewomen” they set out to help in 1883 are now refugees from Afghanistan, battered wives, mothers of sons paralyzed in Iraq. Sample the radical changes they have made over the years, as well as the institutions they wisely left alone, like the iconic cherry dress that charmed both Jacqueline Kennedy and Gwyneth Paltrow. http://www.slpl.org/events/calendar.asp?selectedEvent=1&selectedBranch=0
- Book Signing: Gloria Feldt, author of No Excuses
March 8 from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Left Bank Books, 321 North 10th Street
Feminist icon Gloria Feldt pulls no punches in this new book, which argues that the most confounding problem facing women today is not that doors of opportunity are not open, but that not enough women are walking through them. From the boardroom to the bedroom, public office to personal relationships, she asserts that nobody is keeping women from parity – except themselves. http://www.downtownstl.org/play/EventsCalendar/EventList.aspx?eventID=2305
- Book Signing: Lilly Ledbetter, author of Grace and Grit
March 14 from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Left Bank Books, 321 North 10th Street
Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond chronicles Lilly Ledbetter's incredible life, from her humble beginnings in Possum Trot, Alabama, to her public fight for equal pay from her years in management at Goodyear, to the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, a federal law signed by President Obama in 2009. http://www.downtownstl.org/play/EventsCalendar/EventList.aspx?eventID=2313
- “Segregation Laws in the 1880s: Williams v. Bellefontaine Railroad”
“Trial for the Right to Vote: Virginia Minor v. Happersett”
Weekdays in March at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., and 11:30 a.m.
Saturdays and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Old Courthouse, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
11 North 4th Street
Step into a restored courtroom at the Old Courthouse and bring history to life by reenacting a history trial. Visitors read scripts, argue facts, and decide a verdict. Trials are sixty minutes long.
- Women of the West”
Museum of Westward Expansion, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
200 Washington Avenue, Gateway Arch
Saturdays and Sundays at 1:15 p.m. and 3:15 p.m.
A twenty-five-minute talk led by a ranger.
- Women’s History Month Film Schedule
Museum of Westward Expansion Special Exhibits Gallery
200 Washington Avenue, Gateway Arch
A film series will be presented in the Special Exhibit Gallery at the Museum of Westward Expansion each day March 3 – 31 to celebrate Women's History Month. Films run 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
March 3 – 10: “Dreams of Equality”
March 11 – 17: “I'll Ride That Horse!: Montana Women Bronc Riders”
March 18 – 24: “Eleanor Roosevelt, Close to Home,” a twelve-minute short on the life and work of Eleanor Roosevelt and the issues to which she devoted her considerable intellect and humanitarian concerns.
March 25 – 31: “The Maggie Lena Walker Story”
Take a trip down memory lane when you visit one or more of these historical sites honoring our nation’s women of the past:
- National Women’s History Museum, Virginia
The Museum researches, collects, and exhibits the contributions of women to the social, cultural, economic and political life of our nation in a context of world history. http://www.nwhm.org
- Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, Virginia
Through exhibits and guided tours, you will experience the life of this great African American woman, who was born during slavery and achieved success despite segregation and the limited opportunities offered to her race. http://www.nps.gov/mawa
- Women’s Rights National Historical Park, New York
Discover How Five Women Changed the World: In 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and four other women invited the public to the First Women's Rights Convention to discuss expanding the role of women in America. At the end of the two days, 100 people made a public commitment to work together to improve women’s quality of life. http://www.nps.gov/wori
- Clara Barton National Historic Site, Maryland
This exhibit showcases the extraordinary life, tenacious personality, remarkable leadership, and humanitarian contributions of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. http://www.nps.gov/history/museum/exhibits/clba/
- The Mary McLeod Bethune Council House, Washington, D.C.
This townhouse at 1318 Vermont Avenue, NW, was the first headquarters of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) and was Mary McLeod Bethune’s last home in Washington, DC. From here, Bethune and the Council spearheaded strategies and developed programs that advanced the interests of African American women and the Black community. http://www.nps.gov/mamc
- Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site, New York
Eleanor Roosevelt chose Val-Kill for her retreat, her office, her home, and her "laboratory" for social change during the prominent and influential period of her life from 1924 until her death in 1962. During that time she formulated and carried out her social and political beliefs. http://www.nps.gov/elro
- Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, California
Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park, located in the wartime boomtown of Richmond, California, preserves and interprets the stories and places of our nation's home front response to World War II. http://www.nps.gov/rori
If you are looking for more information on Women’s History Month, or just want to become more knowledgeable concerning the history of women in America, visit any of the following websites:
- Famous Missourians
- Read about Missouri women famous for their contributions to the arts, education, and leadership.
- Missouri Women’s Council
- This organization serves as a resource and referral center to help encourage, educate, and support Missouri women as they pursue their economic goals. The Missouri Women’s Council is a statutorily-created organization within the Department of Economic Development that works to promote the economic success of Missouri women by connecting them to information and resources.
- The National Women’s History Project
- 2012 National Women’s History Month Theme: Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment
- Women of Our Time: Twentieth Century Photographs from the National Portrait Gallery
- Library of Congress
- An interactive gallery of some of twentieth-century America's most famous and influential women.
- Women’s History Month Images
- Library of Congress
- The Campaign for Suffrage
- Library of Congress
- This selection of thirty-eight pictures includes portraits of many individuals frequently requested from the holdings of the Prints and Photographs Division and the Manuscript Division. Also featured are photographs of suffrage parades, picketing suffragists, and an anti-suffrage display, as well as cartoons commenting on the movement – all evoking the visible and visual way in which the debate over women's suffrage was carried out.
- National Gallery of Art
- Do Women Have to be Naked to get into the Met Museum?
- Surveying the works on display in the museum's nineteenth- and twentieth-century galleries, the Guerrilla Girls tallied the number of female nudes versus the number of male nudes in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and counted the number of works by female artists versus the number by male artists. Their findings were startling: not even five percent of the artists represented in the modern galleries were women, while fully eighty-five percent of the nudes in those same galleries were female.
- Experiencing War: Women of Four Wars
- For women, the Korea and Vietnam wars signaled few advances in their roles in military service, but in the Persian Gulf War and the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the areas of women’s participation expanded immensely, with potentially more dire consequences.
- National Women’s Hall of Fame
- The National Women’s Hall of Fame is the nation’s oldest membership organization dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the achievements of great American women.