Women's History Month traces its beginnings to the first International Women's Day, held on March 8, 1911 in Copenhagen, spearheaded by Clara Zetkin, a German political leader. In 1981, responding to the growing popularity of the event in schools across the states, Congress passed a resolution making Women's History Week a national American holiday. It was just six years later, 1987, when Congress legally expanded the celebration to a whole month.
Biography.com's salute to Women's History Month is filled to the brim with multimedia goodies
such as an interactive timeline that starts in 1777 with a tribute to Abigail Adams, wife to second U.S. President John Adams, and mother to sixth President, John Quincy Adams. Other terrific sections include Women's History Quiz ("In what year did women win the right to vote?"), Female Firsts, over 150 video clips, and Inspiring Quotes. "Maybe we weren't at the Last Supper, but we're certainly going to be at the next one." Bella Abzug, Congresswoman, 1977
Cell biologist Danuta Bois fulfills her desire to uncover the accomplishments of women ignored by history books with her Distinguished Women website. "This site has biographies of women who contributed to our culture in many different ways. There are writers, educators, scientists, heads of state, politicians, civil rights crusaders, artists, entertainers, and others. Some were alive hundreds of years ago and some are living today. We've heard of some of them, while many more have been ignored by history book writers. I'd like to acknowledge as many as I can."
In choosing 300 women to represent the history of all womankind, Encyclopedia Britannica looked for "those whose contributions have endured through the ages." Biographies A-Z (from Abigail Adams to Zoe, a Byzantine Empress) gives each woman a single page bio, and is a good starter for a school report. The more interesting pages to peruse are those that classify these women by where they lived, what they did, and when they lived. Other great clicks are the videos, the timeline and Learning Activities (for classroom discussion guides.)
Did you know that the first female presidential candidate in the U.S. was Victoria Chaflin Woodhull in 1872? Woodhull was a social reformer nominated by the Equal Rights party, an offshoot of Susan B. Anthony's National American Suffrage Association. History.com Women's History Month feature focuses on Firsts in Women's Achievements and the History of Women's Suffrage. The video gallery is also terrific, and there is a timeline that ties it all together.
The NWHM is currently a cyber-only museum, while it awaits approval from Congress to move into the Old Post Office building in Washington, D.C. The good news is that its ten virtual exhibits are all outstanding. Click on Cyber Museum for the drop-down exhibit list, all of which are applicable to our March celebration of women's history. They include: Women Olympians, Women Spies, and a History of Women in Industry.