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Women's History Month & How to Celebrate It

Updated: May 7

What is Women’s History Month?

March is Women’s History Month in the United States. A time set aside for reflecting on the countless contributions women have made to all segments of society. Originating as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California in 1978, the celebration originally focused on honoring women’s historical achievements. It was later officially designated by Congress in 1987 to expand awareness nationally after strong support and a call to action from the National Women’s History Alliance.

Women’s History Month in 2024

Four decades later, Women’s History Month continues to provide a platform to educate people about both prominent women across generations as well as ‘everyday’ change-makers fighting to dismantle systemic barriers limiting women’s advancement. It represents a call-to-action for individuals and organizations to critically examine attitudes, assumptions and behaviors continuing to perpetuate explicit and implicit bias limiting women’s opportunities. 

Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston Pre-Eminent Writer of Twentieth-century African-American Literature

Why Does Women’s History Month Matter?

Celebrating Women’s History Month is a reminder of both the progress made towards workplace gender equality and the challenges that remain. Women have made major advances in careers and leadership roles that were once unavailable, but issues like equal pay, discrimination, and work/family balance persist.

Challenges that Remain for Women in the Workplace in 2024

  1. The gender pay gap. In 2022 in the United States, women earn approximately 83 cents for every dollar a man earns, indicating a persistent pay disparity between female and male wages. The gap is wider for most women of color. 

  2. Underrepresentation in leadership roles. As of 2021, women hold only 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEO roles in America and only about 30% of executive- and senior-level management roles. The pipeline narrows at more senior levels, limiting female representation and perspectives in top business leadership. 

Women Working on Airplane
Women Working on Airplane, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, CA

Ideas for Actions to Celebrate Women's History Month

There are many ways to actively get involved with celebrating Women’s History Month. Here is a list of activities you can host or get involved in at work during March:

· Host brown bag lunch sessions highlighting impactful women. Either find external speakers or have employees give short presentations on female figures through history or in your industry who broke barriers.

· Curate a “women in leadership” reading list and hold informal book club discussions. Mix historical texts as well as leadership books by women. 

· Partner with a local school or non-profit benefiting young girls and host a networking/mentorship event. Arrange for employees to share their career stories. 

· Promote Women's History Month on your intranet, newsletters and internal communications highlighting celebrations and asking employees to share quotes or ask questions to drive engagement.

Women's History Month heightens awareness of both the progress and the remaining challenges around gender equity. As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg once declared, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made...It shouldn't be that women are the exception.”

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