Background of Women’s History Month

Aliyah Lang

 March is the official National Women’s History Month. The states began claiming the whole month of March as National Women’s History Month because International Women’s Day has been declared on March the 8th since 1911. 

Women’s history is very rich with powerful women and groups who advocate for equality. With this said, it is merely impossible to compile a list of every milestone. Though, the following dates, events and women are notable staples in women’s history.  

Before 1900:

859: During the 9th century, Fatima al-Fihri of Morocco found the oldest university, currently the University of Al Qarawiyyin. 

1553: Mary I, daughter of Henry VIII becomes the first ruling queen of England. 

1769: Women of the colonies are deemed not allowed to own property. 

May 31, 1776: Abigail Adams’ letter to her husband, John Adams advocating for the representation of women and future activism. 

1830: During the Industrial Revolution, family dynamics began to shift as women were now seen as an important part of factory labor.

July 19-20, 1848: The first known organized women’s rights event is known as the Seneca Falls Convention, with contributors such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott. 

1866: Elizabeth Cady Stanton becomes the first woman to run for the U.S. House of Representatives.

May 15, 1869: The National Woman Suffrage Association is founded.

1872: Victoria Woodhull is the first woman to run for the president of the United States.


1903: Marie Curie becomes the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in physics. 

March 19, 1911: The first celebration of International Women’s Day.

October 16, 1916: The first birth control clinic in the United States is opened by Margaret Sanger and then claimed as illegal.

August 18, 1920: The 19th amendment is ratified giving women in the United States the right to vote. 

1923: Only one family member per household is allowed to work due to the National Recovery Acts.

June 21, 1946: The Commission on the Status of Women is organized to advocate for women equality.

Dec. 1, 1955: Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man, which helps spark the civil rights movement.

May 9, 1960: Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows the birth control pill to be distributed.

1963: The Equal Pay Act is established and set standards of the continuous movement of equal pay for women. 

1969: Women are now able to file for divorce with consensual consent from their partner. 

Dec. 18, 1979: The United Nations implements the Women’s Bill of Rights pushing to end discrimination against women. 

June 18, 1983: Sally Ride became the first  American woman in space. 

1992: This year is declared as the “Year of the Woman” after various sexual harassment cases regarding U.S. government officials.

Sep. 4-15, 1995: The United Nations holds the fourth world conference on women which had around 50,000 participants.


Jan. 4, 2007: Nancy Pelosi (D) becomes the first female to hold the speaker of the House position. 

2012: The Paycheck Fairness Act is established to instill the protection of women’s wages. 

2013: The U.S. government abolishes the law against women not being able to have a combat position in the military. 

July 26, 2016: Hilary Clinton (D) becomes the first female to win a presidential nomination from a substantial current day political party. 

Jan. 21, 2017: The first Women’s March is held at the capital, Washington D.C., which is compiled of activists who support feminist movements.