IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

When is Women's History Month? Everything you need to know

Decades before the month-long celebration came to be, some Americans celebrated "Women's Day."

Throughout Women’s History Month, we celebrate the contributions of strong women from the past and present. While it’s important to celebrate women all year long, Congress sets aside one month each year to recognize the sacrifices made by women, for women, to help make our country — and world, rather — a fairer, safer place for all.

President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation in 1980 declaring the week of March 8th as National Women’s History Week. The weekly observance continued until 1987 when Congress designated March as Women’s History Month. But Women's History Month's roots go much deeper, starting with suffragists fighting for women to get the vote in the early 20th century.

Keep reading to find out why Women’s History Month is celebrated in March, plus other facts you might not know about the month-long celebration.

When is Women's History Month?

Women’s History Month is celebrated annually in March. It started as Women’s Day, which was celebrated on Feb. 28, 1909, by a group of Manhattan socialists and suffragists in honor of the one-year anniversary of the garment strike led by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. History contributor Sarah Pruitt tells that this meeting was held on a Sunday so that people would not miss work.

In March 1910, German activist Clara Zetkin suggested that International Women’s Day be recognized as an international holiday at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen — and all 17 countries in attendance agreed.

So, on March 18, 1911, Europeans finally followed suit in recognizing International Women’s Day, while Americans continued to rally for Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February until the 1970s.

How — and when — did it become a month-long celebration?

The holiday wasn’t widely celebrated in America until the United Nations recognized it in 1970s. Later that decade, a task force in California created Women’s History Week to persuade schools to comply with recently passed Title IX laws. And, in March 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared that March 8 was officially the start of National Women’s History Week. 

By 1987, Congress designated March as Women’s History Month.

Why do we celebrate Women’s History Month?

Not only is Women’s History Month a time of reflection, but it's also a moment to recognize how the efforts and bravery of past generations continues to pave the way for females today.

To celebrate, you can attend local events, shop female-founded businesses or simply honor the women who make a difference in your life: your mom, grandmother, sister, teacher, boss, mentor and so on.

Important dates to celebrate during Women's History Month

Although Women’s History Month celebrations take place all throughout March, there are some important dates to add to your calendar.

  • International Women’s Day still takes place on March 8.
  • On March 13, 1913, the Women’s Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C., took place, where more than 8,000 women gathered to demand a constitutional amendment guaranteeing their right to vote.
  • On March 22, 1972, the Equal Rights Amendment was passed in the Senate.

Throughout the month of March, is celebrating women across generations who have made history and continue to move the conversation forward by breaking stigmas, sparking dialogue and inspiring the next generation.