Women’s History Month is celebrated each March to remember and honor the role of women in American history. During this month-long celebration, we take note of influential women who have advocated for women’s rights. We also celebrate and appreciate the women in our own lives – especially mothers and female caregivers.
The Birth of Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month was established in 1978 in Santa Rosa, California, by The Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women.
This initiative started out as a local awareness week and was quickly adopted by the rest of the country in 1979. By 1980, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed Women’s History Week to take place in early March.
The support for women’s history did not stop there. Efforts to make Women’s History Week into a month-long event continued from 1988 to 1994. March was officially declared as Women’s History Month in 1995.
In addition to this month-long celebration, International Women’s Day has taken place every March 8 since 1911.
Since then, millions around the country have been celebrating influential women who have fought for women’s rights. Each March, we come together to honor those who have contributed to women’s history and encourage the next generation to take part.
Influential Individuals in Women’s Health
There are countless women who have devoted their lives to bettering the standard of care for women and children. We honor their contributions every Women’s History Month and remember how they have changed the lives of millions.
Learn more about important women who have contributed to the maternal and pediatric health care field.
Dr. Victoria Apgar was an important figure in the obstetric field (medical care related to pregnancy and childbirth). Apgar studied obstetrical anesthesia and developed the first standardized test to see how well a newborn transitions from the womb to the outside world, which was named the Apgar score, in 1952. Today, this test is key to diagnosing birth injuries.
Apgar also studied other areas of labor and delivery to ensure the health and safety of mothers and their babies.
In addition to her work with mothers and newborns, she became the first woman to become a full-time professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Marie Curie was a trailblazer in the life science field and specialized in chemistry and physics. After earning her Doctor of Science degree in 1903, Curie went on to study radioactivity and opened her own laboratory in her hometown of Warsaw.
Her significant contributions to the field led to the discovery of the radioactive elements radium and polonium. During World War I, Curie developed an X-ray unit to help diagnose injuries of soldiers. Today, X-rays are often used to diagnose birth injuries.
Her contributions to the medical field helped pave the way to better care and inspired millions of other women to follow their dreams. Though she passed away in 1934, she received a Nobel Prize in 2011 for her advancements in X-ray technology.
Clara Barton was an influential figure during the American Civil War. As a nurse, she cared for soldiers and provided them with medical supplies. She was known as the “Angel of the Battlefield.” She also helped civilians injured during the Franco-Prussian War in the early 1870s.
Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881 after hearing about the Red Cross efforts in Europe. Her relief efforts helped protect soldiers and civilians who were wounded by the subsequent wars.
Barton’s bravery continues to inspire millions of women who make strides in the medical field and contribute to humanitarian efforts.
Celebrating Women’s History Month 2022
Each March, Women’s History Month revolves around a theme that focuses on different ideas in women’s history. The theme for Women’s History Month 2022 is “Women Providing Healing, Promoting Hope.” This theme honors and celebrates women healers.
Women’s History Month 2022 aims to recognize:
- Day care workers
- Frontline workers
- Medical professionals
- Nursing home staff
- Pharmacy workers
- Special education professionals
This month, we recognize their selfless work during the COVID-19 pandemic and their incredible contributions that will be remembered for years to come.
There are many ways you and your loved ones can celebrate Women’s History Month this March.
Some ways you can celebrate Women’s History Month include:
- Giving a gift to a woman frontline worker
- Reading about women’s history
- Sharing stories about influential women on social media
- Thanking the women in your life
- Volunteering at a women’s shelter
By coming together each March to honor and appreciate the influential women who dedicated their lives to helping others and advocating for women’s rights, we can continue the cycle.
The influence women have had on history is profound and will continue for future generations. As a society, we can educate our youth to advocate for women’s rights and watch as they pave the way for the future.