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Nashville PRIDE celebrates Women’s History Month

Every year, March is designated Women’s History Month by presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women’s contributions in American history.

by PRIDE Newsdesk
‘We Who Believe in Freedom’ exhibit at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library that highlights the voices of Black feminist organizers and theorists who fought for a definition of freedom and liberation that extended beyond their individual circumstances.

Women’s History Month began as a local celebration in Santa Rosa, California. The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women planned and executed a ‘Women’s History Week’ celebration in 1978. The organizers selected the week of March 8 to correspond with International Women’s Day. The movement spread across the country as other communities initiated their own Women’s History Week celebrations the following year.

In 1980, a consortium of women’s groups and historians led by the National Women’s History Project (now the National Women’s History Alliance) successfully lobbied for national recognition. In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8, 1980 as National Women’s History Week.

Subsequent presidents continued to proclaim a National Women’s History Week in March until 1987 when Congress passed Public Law 100-9, designating March 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, each president has issued an annual proclamations designating the month of March as ‘Women’s History Month.’

The National Women’s History Alliance selects and publishes the yearly theme. The National Women’s History Month’s theme for 2024 celebrates ‘Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.’ The theme recognizes women throughout the country who understand that, for a positive future, we need to eliminate bias and discrimination entirely from our lives and institutions.

Women from every background have long realized that an uneven playing field will never bring equality or justice. Many feel the critical need to speak up and work harder for fairness in our institutions and social interactions.

“During 2024, we recognize the example of women who are committed to embracing everyone and excluding no one in our common quest for freedom and opportunity,” states the NWHA on their website.  

“They know that people change with the help of families, teachers and friends, and that young people in particular need to learn the value of hearing from different voices with different points of view as they grow up.

“Today, equity, diversity and inclusion are powerful driving forces that are having a wide-ranging impact on our country. As members of families, civic and community groups, businesses and legislative bodies, women are in the forefront of reevaluating the status quo. They are looking anew at what harmful social policies and behaviors exist and, often subtly, determine our future. In response, women in communities across the nation are helping to develop innovative programs and projects within corporations, the military, federal agencies and educational organizations to address these injustices.

“It takes courage for women to advocate for practical goals like equity, diversity and inclusion when established forces aim to misinterpret, exploit or discredit them. “Throughout 2024, we honor local women from the past and present who have taken the lead to show the importance of change and to establish firmer safeguards, practices and legislation reflecting these values. Following decades of discrimination, we are proud to celebrate women who work for basic inclusion, equality and fairness.”

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