National Women's History Month 2004
March 8 was first celebrated as International Women's Day in Europe, in 1911. In many European nations at that time, as well as in the United States, womens rights were a political hot topic. However, the economic depression of the 1930s caused attention to women's rights to rapidly dissolve.
The celebration of women's history as we know it today, officially began in the 1970s, when there was a growing sense among women that "history," as taught in school, was incomplete in attending to "her story." In the United States, calls for inclusion of African Americans and Native Americans helped raise awareness that women were invisible in most history courses. So, in the 1970s, many universities began to include the field of women's history, as well as the broader field of women's studies.
In 1978, in California, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women began a "Women's History Week" celebration. The week was chosen to coincide with International Women's Day, March 8. Because the response was so positive, schools began to host their own Women's History Week programs.
In 1982, the United States Congress passed a resolution establishing National Women's History Week. Co-sponsors of the resolution — demonstrating bipartisan support — were Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah, and Representative Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat and a Social Worker from Maryland; this led to even wider participation in Women's History Week.
At the request of the National Women's History Project, Congress expanded National Women's History Week to an entire month. Since then, the U.S. Congress has issued a resolution every year, with wide support, for Women's History Month. Additionally, the President of the United States issues a proclamation of National Women's History Month in March of each year.
NASW has always supported and recognized Women's History Month. The National Committee on Women's Issues develops, reviews and monitors programs of the Association that significantly affect women.