When Shania Twain sang “man, I feel like a woman!” she was really on to something. And March is the time of year when that feeling becomes more tangible and communal than ever.
March is Women’s History Month, an annual celebration in the United States that recognizes and celebrates the contributions of women all throughout the nation’s history.
Although gender is a socially constructed concept that changes and evolves personally throughout each of our lives, there is no shortage of nuanced and dynamic conversations to be had about women, gender, inequality, and injustice.
Throughout history, women have been erased and excluded, and women of color, transgender women, and queer women have been subjected to even more harmful oppression than their white, cisgender sisters. To truly embrace and understand the value of Women’s History Month, we must approach our celebrations with intersectionality and intention.
With that in mind, Women’s History Month is both a time to confront the ongoing injustices that plague women around the world — and an invitation to celebrate and rejoice in our shared humanity as women.
But first, a little history lesson:
5 Facts About Women’s History Month
- Women’s History Month can trace its roots back to 1857. During this time, women from various New York City factories protested poor working conditions.
- The first Women’s Day celebration in the U.S. was in 1909. However, the catalyst for Women’s History Month began as a local weeklong celebration in Santa Rosa, California. In 1978, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women planned a celebration that corresponded with International Women’s Day, and the movement took off across the country.
- Women’s groups and historians lobbied for national recognition in 1980. In February of that year, President Jimmy Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8th as National Women’s History Week.
- Congress designated the entire month of March Women’s History Month in 1987.
- Dr. Gerda Lerner, who was a key figure in the fight for this national observance, said: “Women’s history is women’s right.”
While it’s important to learn more about and uplift the experiences of all women every single day, it’s helpful to have somewhere to start. We’ve created a guide on how to celebrate Women’s History Month this year.
By the way, some of the links in this article (like books!) are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
Activities and Ideas: How To Recognize Women’s History Month
Watch a documentary about women’s rights.
Who doesn’t love a good documentary? The diverse and expansive stories of women span all industries, continents, and experiences, but if you want to learn a bit more about gender inequality, check out some of these films:
- 9to5: The Story of a Movement (Netflix)
- Feminists: What Were They Thinking? (Netflix)
- Reversing Roe (Netflix)
- This Changes Everything (Netflix)
- Period. End of Sentence. (Netflix)
- The Janes (HBO)
- A Secret Love (Netflix)
- Audrie & Daisy (Netflix)
- She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (Netflix)
- Miss Representation (Kanopy)
- End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock (Peacock)
- He Named Me Malala (Amazon Prime)
Read books about women’s rights.
Get your gender studies syllabus started with a few essential reads on women’s liberation. Here are a few of our favorites:
- “Abolition. Feminism. Now.” by Angela Y. Davis, Gina Dent, Erica R. Meiners, and Beth Richie (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gay (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics” by bell hooks (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Know My Name: A Memoir” by Chanel Miller (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity” by Julia Serano (Bookshop) (Amazon)
Add some new podcasts to your queue.
We know it seems like everybody has a podcast these days, but we promise: There are absolutely some gems you’re missing out on. If you’re looking for some new listening material this March, try these on for size:
Watch TED Talks by women leaders.
When we make our industries and organizations more diverse, brilliant ideas come to life. While many of us might have a favorite speaker who has graced the TED stage, this month brings a fresh opportunity to watch some other talks by women leaders.
Check out TED’s round-up of 10 must-watch talks by women.
Learn some Women’s History Month stories.
Part of the importance of awareness holidays and history months like Women’s History Month is the preservation of milestones of women’s history that might otherwise be erased or forgotten.
Unfortunately, some of those stories have already been lost to the annals of history (or been given a man’s name). Take some time to learn more about women in history you might not know.
Some examples are Amelia Bloomer, a suffragist and editor who revolutionized women’s clothing to prioritize comfort; or Rosalind Franklin, who discovered the structure of DNA (and has been forgotten in history books, while her male peers get all the credit).
Learn more about the history of women’s health.
Currently, so much of the injustice women face around the globe is associated with their access to healthcare and the right to their own bodies. Hauntingly, this battle has been waged for most of history, despite the cultural role many women play in raising families and having children.
The history of American gynecology and obstetrics is truly disturbing and harmful, and while it’s certainly not the most fun way to celebrate Women’s History Month, it is vital information that informs how we confront the issues of the day. Consider reading “Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology” by Deirdre Cooper Owens to learn more.
Take a virtual museum tour.
The National Women’s History Museum is an innovative online museum that uncovers, interprets, and celebrates women’s diverse contributions to society.
Check out inspirational events, online exhibits, countless digital resources, and articles about all kinds of women in history.
Explore the Library of Congress.
The national Women’s History Month website has a number of great resources, but one in particular worth visiting is the Library of Congress’s research guides.
These guides offer a number of amazing materials on women’s history, including geography and map collections, manuscripts, recorded sound collections, and more.
Read good news about women.
Part of the fun of celebrating women also means celebrating good news about women. We’re all about good news at Good Good Good. A while back, we even made The Women Edition of our monthly Goodnewspaper — and we also have a whole library of good news stories about women to inspire you and help you learn something new.
- Zimbabwe’s Women-Only Rangers Fight Poachers And Poverty
- An All-Women Coral Conservation Group Is Reviving Coral Reefs
- Art Is Helping Refugee Women Connect And Express Themselves
- Finally, Black Women Are Getting Credit For Starting The Nail Art Trend
- Meet The American Women Athletes Who Broke Barriers
- This Rural N.C. Farm Helps Formerly Incarcerated Women Build Back Their Lives
- Meet The Immigrant Women Workers Disrupting The Cleaning Industry
- Milestones In Women’s History From The Year You Were Born
- A Georgia Brewery Is Using Code Words To Curb Sexual Harassment
Support women-owned businesses.
According to the World Economic Forum, women started 49% of all new businesses in the U.S. in 2021, up 28% from just two years prior. It’s fair to say that more women are becoming entrepreneurs than ever before. However, around the globe, men still outnumber women three to one when it comes to business ownership.
That said, it’s always important to uplift and support women-run businesses and organizations in your community! Mindfully shop for goods you need, find a new women-owned restaurant to enjoy in your area, or start planning ahead with some holiday gift cards.
Pro tip: Be especially thoughtful of being intersectional in your support, redistributing wealth to women in historically marginalized communities.
Explore our ultimate guide to ethical, sustainable, and do-good brands led by women.
Donate to organizations in your community that support women and girls.
Do your part to support women and girls in your community by making a donation. Whether you want to find a specific organization that empowers young girls in STEM, or a local women’s health clinic, there is definitely a need, and you can definitely help fill it.
Any amount you can give is meaningful, and if you can, setting up a recurring donation can make a huge impact, all while saving you time in the long run. While we highly recommend finding a small and local grassroots organization to support in your area, here are a few other organizations you can fund during Women’s History Month:
- Malala Fund
- Girls Inc.
- She Should Run
- National Network of Abortion Funds
- Girls Who Code
- National Women’s Law Center
- Black Mamas Matter Alliance
- National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
Fight for reproductive freedom.
As access to reproductive healthcare is threatened and removed in states across the country, we all have a duty to stand up for the bodily autonomy and safety of all Americans.
There are so many things we can all do. To get you started, check out our guide to protecting abortion and reproductive freedom.
Do your part to change policy.
There are still countless, antiquated policies on local and national levels that harm women and girls. Whether it’s supporting women candidates, ensuring you’re registered to vote, contacting your representatives, protesting for change, or even staying up-to-date with local policy initiatives, it’s up to all of us to make this world safer and more welcoming to women of all backgrounds.
Prevent gender-based violence by taking a bystander intervention training.
According to the United Nations, 30% of women ages 15 and older around the globe have experienced physical or sexual violence at least once in their life. Gender-based violence like sexual abuse or intimate partner violence pervade our culture and impact us all in some way.
We’ve also been taught a lot of myths about these acts of violence and could use a refresher on how to spot and confront instances of assault in our day-to-day lives. Do your part for the women in your life by taking a bystander intervention training.
Right To Be has a number of training courses available online. Some are specific to types of harassment or targeted attacks on specific groups of people, but all are equally as helpful and meaningful.
Attend Women’s History Month events.
Check out local event calendars for Women’s History Month events, parades, fundraisers, or service projects near you. You can also look into some various virtual events to help celebrate this exciting month!
The National Women’s History Museum has loads of thoughtful events on the calendar for March 2023, and you can even join some commemorative and educational events through the National Park Service in observance of this special month.
Join a women’s organization or club.
A bedrock of the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s and 70s was the emergence of consciousness-raising groups. These groups were community gatherings where women shared their experiences within their identities and social structures and moved to organize for change.
While a modern book club or hiking group might not be the exact same thing, being in community with women with diverse experiences but shared interests is still a radical, beautiful act.
Have a dance party to an all-woman playlist.
If you don’t listen to “Run The World (Girls)” by Beyonce at least once this month, you may need to reevaluate your celebrations. Lucky for you, nearly every women’s empowerment playlist includes this song.
Check out Spotify, Apple Music, or TIDAL for a playlist to use as your Women’s History Month soundtrack.
Watch movies by women filmmakers.
Heat up the popcorn, throw on your PJs, and rent or stream a movie made by a woman filmmaker. Here are some of our favorites (and where you can rent or stream them)!
- Nomadland, directed by Chloé Zhao
- Little Women, directed by Greta Gerwig
- Lady Bird, directed by Greta Gerwig
- The Farewell, directed by Lulu Wang
- Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins
- Booksmart, directed by Olivia Wilde
- Portrait of a Lady on Fire, directed by Céline Sciamma
Write a thank-you note to the women in your life.
Grab the stationery and a glitter gel pen, and harness the power of gratitude. Whether it’s your mom, your spouse, your sister, your best friend, or a teacher who inspired you years ago, write a heartfelt thank-you to a woman who has made a difference in your life.
Turn your good intentions into real change.
Before you pat yourself on the back for having the most woman-centered workplace in the world, remember that your actions must go beyond events like Women’s History Month.
If you want to ensure that your good intentions are actually making a difference, just like you would with your other diverse team members, it’s going to take ongoing expertise and evolution.
Consider hiring an Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity specialist, or check out the resources from The Diversity Gap, an organization that coaches race-conscious leaders and teams — including their podcast and book.
Ask for a raise (or embrace pay transparency).
Ladies — and anyone in a community that is often underpaid compared to their straight, white, able-bodied, male peers — let this month be your call to action to fight for pay equity.
If you have a manager, start by asking for a raise or just opening a discussion about your pay and benefits. The Cut has a great starting guide for this nerve-wracking action step.
If you are a manager, or you already feel comfortable with your salary, consider learning more about and embracing pay transparency. Reevaluate internal policies regarding conversations about money. Make your executive salaries public record. Look into your state’s pay transparency laws.
Highlight Women’s History Month in your company newsletter.
If your brand or company sends a newsletter to customers or team members, this is a great way to inform folks about Women’s History Month.
You can create a section where you highlight women’s historical figures or events, give folks tips for how to celebrate, share ways to give back to women in your community — and maybe even share this article as a resource!
Host a learning or team-building event.
One of the best ways to celebrate any sort of awareness holiday is by embracing and enjoying the cultural collections of the people you’re celebrating. Start a reading circle, host a Lunch & Learn with food catered from a woman-owned restaurant, or bring in a nonprofit partner for a discussion.
Volunteer with or match employee donations to a nonprofit.
Connect with a local women’s empowerment nonprofit or a chapter of a national organization and see how you can volunteer as a team during Women’s History Month (and the rest of the year, too).
Additionally, you can provide a list of nonprofits that your employees can support — and match their donations to make an even bigger impact.
Offer more mentorship opportunities.
According to Forbes, retention and promotion rates for women participating in mentoring programs increased from 15 to 38%. When faced with pay inequality, advancement barriers, and work-life imbalances, women are especially in need of meaningful mentorship opportunities.
Where can you improve these opportunities in your company? How can you connect women with mentors inside and outside your organization? How can you invest in the communal success of all women in your industry?
Improve your parental leave policies.
Did you know that the World Health Organization’s recommendation for minimum parental leave is 18 weeks? Yet, in America, there is no federal policy on paid family leave, and 40% of women don’t even qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act, which grants 12 weeks of unpaid job leave at the federal level.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder most women struggle to find any sort of balance between work and family life. And parents who don’t give birth are also left behind.
Consider using this month to reevaluate and reshape your company’s parental leave policies. What countries are doing it best? What is the most you can offer your team members? How can you advocate for better policies on a nationwide level?
For Kids / Students At School
Read books and poems by women writers — and then discuss them.
Whether you’re circling up for story time or assigning reading to your students, there’s no shortage of books and poems by women writers or about women’s experiences to consider!
Not sure what to add to your reading list? Check out some ideas below for kids and YA books:
- “The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne” by Lesa Cline-Ransome (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights” by Karen Blumenthal (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired The Environmental Movement” by Stephanie Roth Sisson (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Yes She Can: 10 Stories of Hope from Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House” by Molly Dillon (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed The World” by Chelsea Clinton (Bookshop) (Amazon)
Give presentations about women in history.
Some of the most fun and empowering assignments in school can be presentations and research projects about inspiring leaders. Help your students brainstorm a woman in history they might not already know about — and make it fun.
Maybe they can dress up as their historical figure for class. Maybe you can recreate the Seneca Falls Convention (but without the racism). Maybe your students can make collages of words that describe the person they are researching — the possibilities are endless!
Decorate your classroom.
Whip out those bulletin board supplies and make a Women’s History Wall of Fame. Have your students create Ruth Bader Ginsburg-esque collars with construction paper to hang on the wall. Have students bring in a photo or drawing of a woman that inspires them. Anything you can do to visually encourage these conversations and celebrations is a win!
Talk about gender.
Unfortunately, across the country, we are seeing widespread attempts to dismantle and suppress comprehensive sex education. While we can all do our part to advocate for accurate and affirming sex ed, teachers and trusted adults have the opportunity to have helpful and honest conversations about gender, sexuality, and consent with young people.
We know these conversations can be difficult to navigate, but there are loads of helpful resources out there! Gender Spectrum has a great guide to talking to young children about gender, and psychotherapist Esther Perel has created a robust list of sexual and relational health resources for all ages.
Close the gender gap in STEM curriculum.
We’re building the next generation of women in STEM. Let’s give our young women the tools that Marie Curie could only dream of.
Use this month as a catalyst for improving STEM curriculum and building the confidence of your (especially girl) students who are passionate about science and math. Celebrate the achievements of historical STEM leaders (a viewing of Hidden Figures, anyone?), and help encourage your young people to follow their dreams.
Discuss the importance of women’s access to education.
While there are certainly lots of challenges for women and girls in the American education system, it’s so important to discuss the state of education around the globe. Be intentional to include lessons and conversations about girls’ global education, why access to opportunities matters, and what people are doing about it.
Malala Fund is a great place to start for resources and initiatives.
On Social Media
Follow & amplify the voices of diverse women creators.
While you might already be hyping up your girlies on Instagram, Women’s History Month provides a unique opportunity to find more diverse women creators to add to your feed. Take an internal audit and find what voices you’re missing, and be sure to share, kindly comment, and support them. (A Venmo payment or newsletter subscription upgrade goes a long way, too!)
Help end the cycle of gender-based harassment online.
As if life IRL wasn’t difficult enough for women — don’t worry: there’s also cybermisogyny!
Cybermisogyny or cybersexism, according to the Women’s Media Center, is specifically gendered abuse targeted at women and girls online. It incorporates sexism, racism, religious prejudice, homophobia, and transphobia.
From digital sexual harassment and threats, to doxing and identity theft, this cycle of abuse is rampant for women online; especially journalists and women in the public eye. And it must be stopped.
Check out nonprofit Take Back The Tech for resources on personal online safety, supporting survivors, and how we can end gender-based violence online.
Have important conversations with your loved ones.
We know that activism happens on massive scales, but it also happens in our one-on-one conversations every single day. If there are people in your life who might be making unsavory comments about women, or who don’t understand the extent of systems like patriarchy, misogyny, or capitalism, this is a wonderful opportunity to start a new conversation.
Of course, this often takes a lot of emotional energy, and women are so often expected to do the educating, so we implore those real bros out there to shoulder some of the burden here. Regardless, be sure you feel comfortable with your boundaries when you engage with folks who disagree with you and be prepared to direct them to other resources.
Don’t leave this work behind — and make sure your work is intersectional.
As always, we hope that this guide is a helpful starting point — or a refresher — for your fight against misogyny. However, we also hope you’ll keep up this work after Women’s History Month.
Additionally, we truly hope you will be intersectional in your feminism and can find the crossroads with your anti-racism, LGBTQ-inclusive, disability justice, environmental justice — and all social justice — work.
When we see strides and improvements for gender equality, we must remember to celebrate the good, and to continue to stand in solidarity for the liberation of all people.
As the incomparable Audre Lorde said: “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”
Practice any of these items year-round, allocate financial resources to make ongoing donations, and continue to do your part for women and girls 365 days a year.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we celebrate Women’s History Month?
Women’s History Month is observed to commemorate, study, and celebrate the vital role of women in American history. It is an opportunity to recognize the trailblazing women who have led the way and inspire a new generation to do the same.
What is the theme for Women’s History Month 2023?
In 2023, the theme of Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” This theme, designated by the National Women’s History Alliance, will recognize women of past and present who have been active in all types of media and storytelling.
What was the Women’s History Month theme in 2022?
In 2022, the theme of Women’s History Month was Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope. The theme was designed to celebrate the ongoing contributions of caretakers and frontline workers throughout the pandemic, as well as honor the countless ways women of all cultures have provided help and healing throughout history.
What are the colors of Women’s History Month?
The colors of Women’s History Month are purple, green, and white. Each of these colors has their roots in the suffrage movement but continue to have modern meanings today. White represents equality, truth, and freedom. Green represents hope and growth. Lastly, purple represents women’s fight for suffrage.
Why is Women’s History Month in March?
When the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women first organized Women’s History Week, it corresponded with International Women’s Day on March 8. International Women’s Day was first observed in 1910, nearly 80 years before the official observation of Women’s History Month.
What are some good quotes for Women’s History Month?
A good quote is always something that can resonate well and help illustrate the meaning of a topic or experience. Whenever you’re sharing quotes, be sure to understand the context and purpose of what was said, and make sure you’re using those quotes in a way that would align with the values of the people who said or wrote them.
With that in mind, here are some collections of quotes you can share for Women’s History Month:
- Quotes for Women’s History Month
- Quotes to empower women
- Quotes for International Women’s Day
- Quotes about activism
- Quotes about caring
- Quotes about social justice
- Maya Angelou quotes
- Coretta Scott King quotes
- Dolly Parton quotes
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes
- Jane Goodall quotes
- Marsha P. Johnson quotes
- Madeleine Albright quotes
- Glennon Doyle quotes